Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Alice in Wonderland Effect

Hanging out with 1,800 year old redwood trees is pretty amazing.  The world of Henry Cowell State Park feels both ancient and timeless.
 
Eagle Creek crossing
Before our hike, we had a pleasant conversation with a smiley ranger.  My guess is he loves his job.  Following his suggestion, we walked to the back of the main redwood grove and entered a trail at the General Fremont tree.  (That sucker is 277 feet tall!)  From there we hiked the River Trail and Big Rock Hole Trail.

Don't forget to stop and look up.
As we walked, I could feel us moving away from civilization and into the world of the Zayante Indians, the area's residents for thousands of years.  There is something fresh and honey-ish about redwood-infused air.

For a while I was invigorated.  Then I got a little drowsy, sort of like I was under some kind of cosmic spell.  I released to the floating, dreamy sensation.  Perhaps being dwarfed in stature and time created an Alice in Wonderland effect.

I'm glad that Henry Cowell's son gave away $14 million to enhance the "public good."  As a member of the public, I agree:  It's good.


If you go to Henry Cowell, you can enter through the main entrance, where parking is $10.  There you have easy access to the main redwood grove, the Roaring Camp train, and the visitor's center and gift shop where you can get a free map.  This map is much better than anything you can find online.

There are free entrances at several well-marked trail heads off Highway 9.  To explore another area of the park called Fall Creek Unit you can enter off Empire Road.  Hikes range from easy to challenging.  Trails are numerous and well-tended.



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