Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day Trip: Kruse Rhododendron SNR

I remember the beautiful rhododendrons when I was a student at Humboldt. Both on campus and in the forest, they were a sign that things were warming up and summer was knocking at the door (though, in Humboldt, summer never knocked very loud).

Last weekend Bob suggested we get outdoors and explore something new. The Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve is located about 15 minutes south of The Sea Ranch, just off of Highway 1. After a stop at Twofish Baking for one of their delicious chai lattes and a baguette, we were off.

The reserve is located adjacent to Salt Point State Park. Edward P. Kruse donated the land to the people of California in 1933 as a living memorial to his father, a founder of San Francisco's German Bank. The land was part of a large ranch established in 1880, on which the Kruse family raised sheep and carried on logging and tanbark harvesting operations.  Today, the reserve contains second-growth redwood, Douglas fir, grand firs, tan oaks, and a plethora of rhododendrons. Each May these spectacular flowers burst into bloom and color the deep green of the forest with brilliant pink blossoms.

The park has a network of trails and we did the 2.2 mile loop trail that takes you both hillside and into the gulch. I think I was expecting to see a larger density of blooming rhodies, but the ones we did see were a fantastic pop of color in the backdrop of greens and browns. We also saw some wild irises, poppies and some other flowers which I couldn't identify. We were surprised by a fat banana slug in the middle of the trail as well.

After our hike we had a little picnic lunch and then drove the long road home, through Plantation and past the Buddhist retreats, through Kashia and then into Stewart's Point.

Thing to know, if you go:
- no entrance fee
- limited parking
- bathrooms are locked until July 1
- dress in layers

No comments: