July 15, 2008

A Banana Slug's Dream

Spanish explorers arrived on Trinity Sunday in 1775 and upon their landing named this beautiful area “Trinidad”…thus came to be the smallest town in Humboldt, County. With its natural harbor, Trinidad Bay first served as an anchoring place for ships active in exploration and trade with the native Yurok Tribe, then as a point of entry to the miners during the gold rush, from then as lumber port, a whaling station and then a landing site for commercial and sport fisheries.

Today, fishing, timber and tourism provide the economic backbone of this charming coastal town. The harbor was picturesque…deep green, mirror like…almost surreal except for the occasional departure of the harbor taxi.

Adjacent to the harbor is the trailhead for the Trinidad Head Trail…a short one mile loop with beautiful vistas of the coastline, beaches and harbor. We saw cormorants nesting on the cliffs below us and Harbor seals resting on the offshore rocks.

Situated in the heart of California’s coast redwood country, Trinidad borders the 640 acre Patrick’s Point State Park. Along with the night and morning fog, blankets of redwood, spruce, hemlock, fir, pine and red alder create the perfect habitat for non-stop orgies, feeding frenzies or just an afternoon of laying around for the elusive Banana slug. Sharing these forests and calling it home are the “usual suspects”…i.e. deer, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk rabbit, squirrels, etc.

We took advantage of the miles of hiking trails that crisscross the park…a wonderful walk through old growth redwoods and Sitka trees, carpets of wildflowers (heaven for Jackie K. and John H.) and endless meadows of ferns. Some parts of the trail were so dense with vegetation that unless you were a “White Rabbit”, it would be impossible to penetrate…thus with walls of vegetation, our hike sometimes resembled a walk through a maze.

Winding down our hike, we took a trail back to the ocean bluffs where we began. We climbed the top of old sea stack, the 132 step Ceremonial Rock, that was once offshore. Shaped and isolated by pounding surf and uplifting, it now is left high and dry by the oceans receding over time, standing like a lone castle turret, guarding the meadow below.

The visual image that where we stood was once under water reminds us that time is truly an illusion for the human species…no energy wasted here by Banana Slugs…so lets materialize another illusion and create a trip north to the Mill in Coos Bay….
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