Just moments after leaving the site of my previous post I did indeed find the official entrance to Montgomery Woods, with a proper sign, a parking lot, restrooms, etc. Bicycles aren’t allowed here, so I leave the bike and head out along the loop trail. The trail goes up and up. I couldn’t have biked it.
But the trail finally levels off and we enter the forest of old-growth redwoods:
Sunlight shines down from on high:
We see traces of the forest fire of 2008:
And here we arrive in one of the best preserved parts of the grove. No wonder they call redwood groves “nature’s cathedrals”:
Further along the trail I come upon a fallen tree:
But, of course, redwoods are not alone here. Ferns flood the forest floor in some places:
And California’s ever present poison oak:
Further along there is more and more evidence of the fire. This tree has its trunk totally burnt out, and yet it still lives:
This one is badly burnt too, and no longer lives:
More traces of the fire:
And much burn debris scattered about:
But we learn from the different information signs that forest fires are in fact good for the redwoods. Their bark is resistant to the flames and fires cleanse the forest floor and allow the undergrowth to renew itself.
Here, a fallen tree serves as a stairway and a walkway:
The trail meanders through a meadow of ferns:
And a stream, though dry in this season, runs through it all:
Far back in the canyon, I come upon this makeshift memorial:
Notice the bouquet of roses. If you zoom in you can see a photo of a young man on the left, and you can make out the details of many of these small piles of stones. I decide that I’ll leave something in memoriam too.
I quickly gather a few stones:
From this collection I select a few. Six will do. And I make the following pile which I show here from four different angles:
And I dedicate this to the memory of my parents, Phillip Eugene and Jean Darlene, the father and mother of Tim, Larry and John.
Dad died many years ago, Mom remarried and moved to Redding with her new husband. But today Phil and Jean are together again here, in a cemetery in Petaluma:
It’s getting late now, and I take another trail back down the canyon:
Along the way, I see these deer. I’ve seen quite a few of them, but they don’t like to be photographed:
When I get back to the parking lot I come across this duo:
I have no idea what they’re doing here, or where they come from. This will be one of the many little mysteries of my journey.