Monday, May 26, 2008

Lower Yosemite Falls Trail (5/26/08)

Sarah and I did this short loop trail during our great Pacific coast trip of 2008. We day-tripped to Yosemite on May 26 from San Francisco. Of course it would have been great to have a whole week at Yosemite, but we crammed a lot into this short trip we had.

It was fairly cool still at Yosemite, even in late May. During our morning drive up to the Tuolumne Meadows we actually encountered some fresh snow on the road. It was also quite foggy with a very low cloud cover. Later in the afternoon it cleared some, but sadly we never got a good view of Half dome because of the clouds.

The Lower Yosemite Falls trail was quite easy to reach from shuttle stop #6 in the Yosemite Valley. It is an easy loop trail rated at 1 mile in length. It takes you up to near the base of the Lower Yosemite Falls where the views are quite spectacular. Of course as I looked upon the falls more I wish the time had been available to take the much longer trail which takes you up to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls.

Sarah and I enjoyed the time together though on this little hike. We got some fine pictures at the falls themselves and at least got one great hike in during our short time at Yosemite.


Here are some of the photos we took from this hike. They are all from my Yosemite album on Picasa. Clicking any of these photos will take you to the full-size photo and the full Yosemite album:


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fern Canyon Trail (Redwoods NP) (5/24/08)

After a morning in the northern parts of the Redwoods National Park we headed south on US101. We found lunch at a Subway along the highway in Klamath. From Klamath we followed US101 south more to just north of Ah-Pah where the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway breaks off. This route simply takes you through more of the redwood groves while still being a good 2-lane highway. Along this road was the "Big Tree Wayside" which is a gigantic redwood with a base that must have been 15-20 feet wide.

Past the Prarie Creek Visitor Center is the Elk Prairie where we finally did see some elk. Past there is the turn for Davison Road which we took, this leads down to the Gold Bluffs beach and Fern Canyon. At the beginning of this road is the Elk Meadow. A good 20 elk or so were laying down in this meadow when we passed. Davison Road had some very steep points at the beginning which had us a bit worried about it with our tiny Toyota Prius. The road was again just slightly larger than a one-lane dirt road. It was more hilly and windy than the Howland Hill Road. It did eventually spit us out at Gold Bluffs Beach and also a small ranger station where they took $6 for a state park day use fee. We headed to Fern Canyon and took the quarter mile walk back to the canyon. It is immediately evident where the name Fern Canyon is taken. After leaving Sarah behind, I followed the canyon in a good quarter mile taking some good pictures. I wanted to see just how far back the trail went and what it still looked like. After seeing no change in the scenery (the ferns appear to go forever) I turned around. Upon looking afterwards I found out the trail headed up out of the canyon not long after I left it and it spends a good 2+ miles looping over the hillside, back down to the coast, and then completes the loop back again at Golf Bluffs beach.


I did not get a track file of my own from this hike, but have plotted out in a KML file the length of the trail. This KML actually has the portion which I hiked before turning around and the entire length of the loop trail.


Here are the photos from around the Fern Canyon hike. The initial photos of the elk and then the purple wildflowers along the coast are from the drive into the Fern Canyon area and then the initial coast area at the trailhead. The remaining pictures give you an idea of what Fern Canyon looks like, and yes, it is quite aptly named.

Simpson-Reed Grove Trail (Redwoods NP) (5/24/08)

We stayed in Crescent City the night before visiting the Redwoods. Its a great little town on the Pacific coast. We tried to begin the day by visiting the main Park Headquarters in Crescent city but they did not open till 9am. So we decided to trek north along US-199. We came in last night from Oregon along this road in the dark and still remember seeing the humongous trees along the road. It was along US-199 that we made our first Redwoods stop of the day at the Simpson-Reed Grove. There we hopped on the trail which was a 3/4 mile loop through this amazing grove. We were awed by the Redwoods and taking lots of pictures. It was amazing to see many of them had been burned by fire but still stood strong. Apparently their bark is almost a foot thick and somewhat fire resistant.

This trail would give us a foretaste of all that was to come for our trip through the Redwoods National Park. From here we continued on to the information center at Hiouchi. They gave us suggestions on the great things to do for the day including the Howland Hill Road where we saw the Stout Grove, another amazing grove of these giant trees.


I did not get a track file of my own from this hike. I have made a KML file of the approximate look of the hike and that is embedded here in Google Maps:


Here are the photos we took on this hike. The views of these amazing trees were nothing short of incredible.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hall of Mosses Trail (Olympic NP) (5/20/08)

Route Name: Hall of Mosses Trail
Location: Olympic National Park
Trailhead Elevation: 595 ft.
Trail High Point: 753 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 1.03 mi.


We flew into Seattle this morning and it was raining hard coming out of the airport. The rains slowed as we made our way west out of the city and onto the Olympic Peninsula. It was a beautiful drive as the landscape became more lush in green. The rains came and went. We made it up to Port Angeles and the Olympic NP visitor center around 2pm. It was rainy and foggy and unfortunately the guide their told us it wasn't worth driving up to Hurricane Ridge. I was still tempted to go but they said it was spitting snow flurries up there and they showed us a webcam from up there and you couldn't see anything because of the fog and weather.

So we drove to the west end of the park and visited the Hoh Rain Forest. It was really very neat. We did the Hall of Mosses trail and saw so many moss covered trees, evergreens and maples. The trail is mostly one big loop taking you up the hillside a little bit and giving a variety of different plants and types of trees.


I did not keep a GPX track of my own from this hike. Embedded in the Google Map below then is a generic GPX track giving an idea of where this trail is and what it looks like:


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