Badlands National Park- Scenic Loop Drive- 3.17.2011

Having to drive from Sioux Falls, SD to Rapid City, SD on business and passing right by the Badlands, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to drive the scenic loop Hwy 240 and then enter Rapid City, via Hwy 44.
Who knows when I will be this way again.

BWSTL- Rockwood Reservation- Lime Kiln Trail- 3.12.2011

Another great turn out for Backwoods Hiking Club. We did the Lime Kiln Trail at Rockwoods Reservation in St.Louis. This was a simple 3.4 mile loop, but had a good uphill to start. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Rick is leading a charmed life as the coordinator of these Backwoods outings

more than 30 people again for this walk

This spring (below) could not have been any nicer to sit by and listen to the water. The bright green watercress was the only color in the woods that have yet to see spring

Thanks to Janine for taking these pictures. I had brought my camera, but forgot the SD card at home!

Redwood National Park Adventure- Day 5- March 2011

Our last day in the Redwoods promised more rain, so we decided to drive an extra 260 mile loop to go see Crater Lake on the way back to Portland. We really didn't know if we could even get there as normally the road is closed this time of year.
They did have only the south road to Crater Lake open

 We made it and it was stunningly beautiful

Wizard Island
If you are wondering they have had 44 feet of snow. Below is the visitor center and lodge ( only the roof is visible

A view of the Crater Lake Lodge over the hill
 Wizard Island

Park Headquarters below 

The front entrance to Park Headquarters buried beneath 20 feet of snow
 Park Headquarters with the mountains in the back

 Leaving Crater Lake- the entrance station covered in snow.

What a great time we had. We left Crater Lake and looped north back toward Hwy 5 and stopped in Eugene for dinner and had fabulous pizza in the old city center. We did catch some very hard rain for the last hour of our drive, but made it back to Portland and the plane ride home the next morning.

Recommended Restaurant:
Mezza Luna Pizzeria, Eugene Or.

Recommended Lodging:
Curly Redwood Lodge- Crescent City, CA.


Redwood National Park Adventure- Day 4- March 2011

Today was the day of rain. It had been overcast and some showers, but today it poured. After an excellent breakfast we headed for the heart of the redwoods in Redwood National Park. We had planned to do Brown Creek Trail ( aptly named as the runoff today was chocolate milk color) to Rhododendron trail to South Fork trail. A total of 3.6 miles. This was a recommended loop and had some huge groves of trees.

It was simply too wet and dark to take many pictures, but seeing the trees in person is tremendous.
After we finished with the loop and we are glad we did the loop in the direction we did as coming down the South Fork Trail was very step and muddy. Instead of walking to see the corkscrew tree, we just motored down the scenic drive a mile.
The rain let up just a little to get some pictures of this huge twisted tree. (corkscrew)
It is hard to get a sense of size until you compare it to a known object ( Me!)
We stopped in at the Elk Prairie information center. Vicky needed another fleece jacket and I collected another lapel pin. We did get a good look at some of the resident Elk in the field

After drying off a bit we headed south to Eureka, CA. a college town of 20,000 known for its architecture.
We wondered around the harbor area and old downtown shops
Finally stopping to have great hot chocolate and an apple fritter at a local cafe.
It was then back the 70 miles Crescent City for a great dinner

Recommended Restaurants:

Old Town Coffee and Chocolate, Eureka, CA- on F Street- great hot chocolate and apple fritter
The Chart Room- great breakfast- right on the docks
New Harvest Cafe- surf and turf with crab legs and clam chowder
The Fisherman- late night blackberry pie and blueberry strudel layer cake

Redwood National Park Adventure- Day 3- March 2011

After an excellent breakfast day 3 starts out with us hiking Mill Creek Trail. It is a 5.4 mile total out and back hike in the Jedidiah National Forest.
The day started out sunny, but sun would keep poking in and out as an occasional rain shower would happen.
The trees are so tall and you only get a sense of how tall by looking up
It was wet but it was a nice hike. the trail was very comfortable with only pine needles on the trail, not like the rough rocky trails we normally walk on.

Water everywhere and the creeks and rivers were running at the tops of their banks
The mist of the morning was still covering the tops of the tallest redwoods

Trail ends at the river and a tall tree grove
a bridge spans the river in the summer connecting these trails to the campground
The Banana Slug is the most renowned resident of the Redwoods. It protects itself with a coating that numbs the mouth of its predators. As a dare you can lick one to find out
After a walk in the woods in the morning we returned to Crescent City and went to the Visitors Center in town for more National Park gifts and a couple of collector pins for me
Afterward we took a trip to Klamath Point. It s whale migration season for the humpback to go from the south to the north and they stay close to the shore.
If you are lucky you can spot their breath as the move along the coast line
The mouth of the Klamath River as it empties into the sea
It was cold and windy, but the view was still very nice
After Whale watching we walked the Hidden Beach trail. 1.5 miles total down to a secluded portion of beach that can't be seen from the road
The moisture makes sure everything is covered in green moss
The beach had perfect black sand and we were the only ones to make our footprints in the sand
The tide was just going out for the afternoon
Who says vacation is not hard work. we did some heavy lifting!
Another great day!

Recommended Restaurants:
New Harvest Cafe- Breakfast- Best eggs in town
The Grotto- excellent fish and chips and great local shrimp cocktail

Total Trail Miles:
7 miles
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