When we arrived at Van Damme State Park and Ron asked for a sunny site, I thought they were going to laugh at him. After all, we're in Redwood land. But they were very helpful and gave us a couple of sites to look at. One was just right. It had lots of sun for the solar panels and we could even get satellite TV. Because we arrived on a Tuesday, we were able to get three nights. Those weekends really mess us up. What also surprised me was that we had no internet or phone. Although I didn't know it at the time, this was the first of seven nights that we were without internet. It's a good thing I had scheduled a couple to post, but now I'm a week behind again.
There were a couple of hikes in the park that sounded interesting - the Pygmy Forest and the Fern Canyon.
The Pygmy Forest was just a short loop and, while not exactly what I was expecting, it was pretty unusual.
The soil in this particular area is very poor and a tree with a trunk diameter of 1/4 inch and a few feet tall may be 80 years old.
The rhododendrons were as tall as the trees and putting on quite a show.
The Fern Canyon trail left from nearby. On our way, we admired the colorful Madrone trees (Arbutus menziesii.) These trees shed their outer bark like a snake skin, revealing the eye-catching new red bark.
Within a short distance from the pygmy forest, suddenly the trees got much taller.
These Coast Redwoods shoot up relatively quickly, but this burned out trunk could be 2000 years old.
The trail led us down into the most gorgeous canyon with ferns galore.
And not just one kind of fern.
I've never seen anything like this. Is it a fern? It has a segmented stem like bamboo.
The tiny Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) was everywhere.
Ron and I agreed that this Fern Canyon trail might be the most beautiful forest hike we've ever taken.