All yesterday afternoon and last night the redwood forest got slammed with rain. My estimate is three or four inches since yesterday. A lot even for the redwoods. At one point last night the rain and wind were so hard that I holed up in the lower-floor room so I wouldn’t hear the wind howl. At that pitch I know the trees are bending long with the wind. I didn’t need to see them, it only makes it worse. The best I can do is think like they do in Kansas and Oklahoma and burrow.
The Smith is climbing in height with the NOAA chart predicting a three foot jump in height over the course of the night. That insures a good weekend for the salmon (who get the ‘all clear’ sign to go home and spawn) and the potential for a good weekend for the sport fisherman (who get to chase them in drift boats and on the bank). It’s all part of the cycle of life in the redwoods.
But what do you do if your plans for a redwood retreat come down to a weekend of non-stop rain? Add in the occasional rock slide, muddy trails, and the potential for washed out roads? Oh lordy. Get used to it. You picked Redwood National Park in northern California, not Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas. Anytime after November 1st, travelers to the forest and the Smith always have to consider the possibility of rain. But there’s a good side to all this moistness. Rain is like oxygen to the trees, and a bloodline to the fish.
Here’s my solution for a wintertime visit. A sort of Top Ten List why visiting the redwoods in winter singles you out as maybe even a tad smarter then all those summertime guests. (Spoiler alert: don’t think Top Ten Letterman funny…not tonight.)
10. Time travel more of a possibility in winter, or is it just me that feels like the clock is turned back thousands of years when walking in the forest under a heavy rain. Hmmm, did they have umbrellas in the Mesozoic Era?
9. There’s no more wondering if Fern Falls at the end of the Boy Scout Tree Trail is worth the hike in. Believe me, after a full day of rain the trickle at the end of the trail is a minor torrent.
8. With all this rain, the Grove of Titans is probably experiencing a growth spurt; even taller, even bigger. Of course, you’ll have to find them first to confirm.
7. The greens of the redwood forest are more intense, the foliage more lush, the experience more otherworldly. The colors of the forest in the rain are super-saturated and unreal. You won’t need to Photoshop your jpegs before posting online. Really, it can’t get much greener.
6. You won’t have the crowds to fight on the trails. You know, the usual six other hikers you’d meet on the Mill Creek Trail in summer will drop to … three? one? none? Probably none.
5. You’ll put those $150 waterproof hiking boots from REI to the test in real world conditions. It’ll legitimize any and all monies you spent at your outfitter back home.
4. No need for jets in the hot tub — you’ll want to listen to the rain and hear the chaos happening in the trees.
3. As the salmon will be scooting upriver to spawn, with the right gear you can try your hand at catching one. Record size salmon caught on the Smith? 86 pounds.
2. You don’t have that unending choice of fine dining establishments in Crescent City driving you crazy with choice. Heck, with restaurants closing early when it rains, and some even closing for the season, you might as well just aim for the Chart Room and call it a night (or Vita Cucina and call it a day).
1. We don’t build fires at the bnb in August. You, wet-weather guest, get to hang out with both canine and human form in front of a toasty fire. Oh, if they could see you now in dry and kinda boring Scottsdale or Houston.
Visit in the winter and there is always a chance of rain but your experience in the forest (and by the river) will be unique. Yes, bring waterproof rain gear and decent boots. And slow down on the roads. All in all, winter in the redwoods can be rewarding in ways summer is not. All seasons are worthy of a visit but winter, and in the rain, is special.
The bnb is full this weekend so I will put my theories to the test.
** this is a teaser video of how big the river gets after hella rain. I’ll be out tomorrow and snap a fresh video of how tonight’s rain compares. BTW, not my tractor video that surfaces in the YouTube window when my river video finishes. lol