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watch out for all the elk poo

December 21, 2008

2008 Winter West Coast Road Trip-8th in a series

Kristen got up early and left and I noticed I had another room mate here at the hostel.  Virginia was in another room next to the room where someone was snoring unbelievably loud, so she moved into my room.  No problem.  I got up, showered, made breakfast and sat down to write a bit.

dscn5890There are quite a few more people here today.  I got away about 10:30 and headed south to some elk meadows, but no elk.  So, I went north along a gravel coast road, slowly, and came upon a very large elk munching away at the side of the road.  He eyeballed me for awhile but didn’t seem too concerned.  I got some pictures and moved on.  I had to cross three streams along the way.  At the first one, as I was coming to the other side and up the bank, all sorts of smoke started escaping from under the hood.  dscn5899It startled me for a few seconds and then I realized it was just the water from the stream and the hot engine block creating steam.  It stopped a few seconds later.  The next streams were also navigable, just barely.  I made a mental note not to stay too long because the rain was still coming down and the streams may swell some more trapping me.

I drove as far as I could in the Prairie Creek State Park and parked and started up a trail leading to Fern Canyon.  It was a short hike and very enjoyable; I just had to watch out for all the elk poo.  I had to cross a couple more streams on foot.  My boots are waterproof, as long as I don’t step in it too deep.  I found the shallowest spots to cross and did OK.  These streams were not nearly as deep as the ones I crossed in the car.  dscn5905I came to Fern Canyon and oh what a site.  It was like some prehistoric scene.  Plenty of five and six point ferns adorning, well, everything and fallen trees all over the place and lots of streams and mini waterfalls.  I hiked up the canyon for bit, crossing several streams as strategically as I could.  Eventually though, they got too deep if I wanted to keep my feet relatively dry, and I did, so I turned around and made my way back to the car.  I bet this place is way more lush and spectacular in the summer.  I must come back.

It seemed like the streams I crossed on the way in were a little more swollen now, I picked up the pace and got back to the car with haste.  I crossed the first streams OK, the last one was iffy.  I noticed some other people hiking in and I wondered why.  At the last stream, I could see their cars parked on the other side, they opted not to chance it.  Dang.  Well, off I went.  It’s a little freaky driving through water like that.  dscn58981It’s up to the door levels and you just know that your engine is in the water, but I just kept going and my Saturn VUE (a mini SUV) made it to the other side and up the bank just fine.

On the way out I encountered a gray pelican in the middle of the road.  He didn’t seem to care about me nor was he interested in moving, so I just navigated around him.  When I came back through the elk meadows, they were full of elk; 50 or 60 at least.  Nice surprise.

Made my way back to Crescent City for the internet and did my thing and then back to the Redwood Hostel.  Lots more people tonight.  My new room mate is Phylicia from the Bay area, she’s making her way to Florence Oregon then Portland to spend Christmas with her folks.  I made dinner and just relaxed.  Chatted with some of the new guests.  Played Monopoly with Scott and Virginia and the girls, that was fun.

It was a great day.

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