Conservationists, environmentalists and other friends of the earth who may be frustrated with the state of the climate, the broad impact of drought, and with governments who stand by while the world’s oceans, rivers, plains, forests are over-exploited and sullied should come to the redwoods if only for a short time. Like a good bottle of wine, the redwoods can sooth and soften the rough edges of a world gone mad.
Here, it’s still possible to forage for mushrooms and dig for clams, which can easily end up in an evening’s feast or breakfast omelette. Though there are fewer salmon and steelhead, fish still swim the Smith and nearby rivers. Wild peas grow on the banks of the Smith. Backyards can usually support a few chickens and honey bees aren’t so hard to raise either.
Devotees of nature and self-sufficiency still make a stab at an untethered life in these parts.
Whereas nature bats last in most of the inhabited and uninhabited corners of the globe (another way of saying humankind will pay for its profligate and polluting ways), here in the Smith River watershed, and in much of the redwood forest, nature bats first.
Yes, there are sign of pillage. Many nearby locations show signs of wear and degradation — the Grove of Titans is now just another spot on the map, with compacted earth and trampled fern to show for it; the once dense-with-redwoods Malarkey forest is now home to a behemoth state prison, and algae seems more and more present in the rivers, due to warmer waters both inland and ocean.
But there are enough pristine places and untrod forest to last anyone reading this post a lifetime.
Where to start on one’s education of a cynic? There’s no better place, nor one more accessible, than the Myrtle Creek Trail. Admittedly a lessor trail among giants, and one that’s not even a National Park trail, yet it is one where the gods of spring first show their hand, a hand that comes in the form of wildflowers and shrubs that are top heavy with new, fragile, and the wispiest of green buds.
If you are traveling in the area, or perchance staying at the bnb, get thee to Myrtle Creek Trail before the spring show expires (which won’t be for a while, actually).
Right now, these are the flowers and flowering trees you will see on your hike there and on your drive from my place to the trailhead.
Nature bats first in the redwood forest. At least for now.