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The edges of the wilderness

What quote am I vibing? "The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel." Theodore Roosevelt

Road Day: 44

Trails Hiked: Redwood National & State Parks. 4.8 miles. Elevation Change: unclear. Surface: packed down dirt. To include: The Nature Trail at Prairie Creek Visitor Center (1 mile), parts of Elk Prairie Trail, and Lady Bird Johnson Trail (1.4 miles)

It has been too long since I have had a Theodore Roosevelt treat, so my #1 goal for today was to see Roosevelt Elk, renamed after TR following his efforts to protect the wapiti elk from extinction. I headed south again, to Redwoods National & State Parks and the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, which is located by "Elk Prairie." The guide there let me know that I wouldn't see elk there today, but I should travel a bit south and I would see a herd. He encouraged me to still do a couple trails there by the prairie. I'm so glad I heeded his advice.

The Nature Trail which started right at the visitor was remarkably lush and beautiful with redwoods. The trail path was cushioned by conifer needles to add to the serene quiet. Walking among the ancient redwoods, it's hard not to trip along rocks in the path as you gaze up and take in the height and beauty of these very alive creatures. I meandered through a very lovely campground (I think even I would have been comfortable at these posh campsites) to Elk Prairie Trail, which loops around the sunny meadow which I already knew did not contain elk. Then headed back to my car to continue my search.

I only had to travel a little farther south and park off 101 (which they advise against) to see a beautiful herd. Again, my binoculars proved very useful. I was able to watch a bull and several cows relaxing. I watched for about an hour, and in that time, 2 more bulls wandered in and out. I thought I might get some excitement 😉😉 cause it is the beginning of fall rut, but just a little sniffing and nosing. The herd is beautiful, and I was so happy to know that they were there in such numbers in part because of my wonderful favorite President.

Having made the decision to take the "scenic route" home - I traveled farther south still and did one more trail that had caught my eye - Lady Bird Johnson Trail - I have a soft spot for first ladies. Another jaw-droppingly beautiful and easily accessible trail to see some millenium + old living redwoods that just exist. In the world. And you can touch them. And breathe their ancient air. (This trip is almost entirely about breathing for me.)

Because I cleverly chose this scenic route, I had to get on the road fairly early for my almost five-hour drive. I drove mostly through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, often hugging the Trinity River with its beautiful rapids, and stunning cliff views. However, my day ended in a stressful way, when I turned onto Forest Road 17 (Parks Creek Road) which was 23 miles of mostly single-lane road, blind curves, sheer cliff drop on one side, and a lot of prayer that I would not encounter someone coming from the other direction. I did only encounter one vehicle, THANKFULLY on a wider stretch of the road because it was a large truck carrying port-a-johns. (????) I don't think I blinked. And I think my knuckles actually turned white. By the time I got to the end of the forest road, sunlight was almost completely gone from the now-smoky sky. Smoky or not, I was happy to be alive. And I saw Roosevelt Elk. And trees that have been through a ton of stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the coast. Now I'm back in Mount Shasta for another week of work and day hiking or touring. The Delta Fire is 5% contained...better than 0%??

"I wonder if my self-timer caught me in a contemplative moment?"

Stream among trees.


Yes, Carol, my stylist gave me my color formula for my trip. No, I don't really have the time or budget to get my hair colored.

So tall.

BULL ELK! So handsome. Such antlers.

If you burn a redwood, you just make it cooler. (But you shouldn't.)

Light has never been more beautiful.

Goodbye for now, Pacific!

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