Eureka Day 2

Today we drove up even farther north to Redwood National Park. A friend of Brendan’s brother’s has recommended that we check out Fern Canyon. I’m glad we took his advice. The park is about 50 minutes north of here. Instead of hiking 8 miles from the park offices, we decide to drive to a point that’s less than a mile from the canyon. It’s this little gravel road that winds around and down to the shore and down to the canyon. Did I mention we’ve rented a Seabring? It takes a minute for me to get my eyes used to the woods once we enter them. I’m startled because it looks like a black and white photo. It takes a moment to realize that the road kicks up so much grey dust that it has covered the ferns and the trees on the edge of the road. They are so thickly coated that everything is in shades of grey.

We make it to the end of the road and set off to first explore the beach. It’s much flatter here and more like the beaches that I am used to on the Atlantic. We walk down to the water and take a few photos of the birds there. I am leading us on the way back and out of the corner of my right eye I see them: three elk, just hanging out. They weren’t there when we started. I take a few photos, and as the shutter clicks as I’m taking one of the male, he turns, looks at me and takes a few steps. We were far enough apart that I wanted to switch to the zoom lens, but I thought twice about it as he moved towards us slightly again. I was satisfied with our Nature moment.

Then we hiked into the canyon. It is so beautiful. I know the photos won’t do it the proper justice. As we rounded each bend it got more and more beautiful. We headed up a trail up a ridge and walked for a while. Once we got to the fork we had to make a decision: hike for 5 more miles and get back to town at about five or six, or go back the short way, maybe a mile and get back around two. Since we hadn’t seen any of Eureka, we opted for the short route and made our way back to the car. The elk were still hanging out where we left them, and so I switched lenses and took a few more shots. The male was still posing for me (and the others who were even closer). A man getting into a car near me muttered something to his wife like, “People are more interested in the elk than they are in Fern Canyon!” I turned and said, “Oh, we’ve already done that.” Plus, there aren’t elk in our part of Virginia!

Back in Eureka, we decided to have a big lunch at a brewpub and skip dinner for the most part. Afterwards, we headed into Old Town Eureka. It’s not really what we were expecting. There were a few blocks with a few shops, but not really much going on. There were a few coffee shops, a bookstore or two, a Restoration Hardware that seemed out of place, and a whole lot of scraggly, homeless looking people. The boardwalk was even more depressing. Evidently there are grand plans for shops and whatnot along it, but right now there isn’t anything, just some buskers playing bad, loud guitar. It kind of reminds us of Sharon: once a big milling town and now sort of struggling. Admittedly, we’ve only seen a small part of the town.

Tomorrow we’ve got a long drive ahead of us. There probably won’t be any more posting until we get home. Right now, we’re borrowing access from someplace else (we thought we were going to have wireless here, but apparently there’s not). We’ll be in the middle of nowhere tomorrow on our way to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

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