Wandering and in a Hurry in the Redwood Forest

On the first day of October, 2012, my Kawasaki and I were dwarfed by enormous trees in the Redwood Forest in northern California. I found a big one and put my bike in it.

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Fascinated by these giants, I decided to go on an impromptu hike in the woods. A quick glance at a roadside trail map showed many short jaunts, no more than a few kilometers long. I trotted past the trail head into the shadows.

You probably know how magical the Redwood forests are, so I won’t bother gushing about them. It’s all true.

Apparently I had far too much energy on this first day of October, as I decided to run throughout the hike. The warm weather soon felt drenchingly hot as I resisted chugging my water between gasps. The trails split and joined often, and it took a while to realize that I had gone much further than any of those listed on the trail map. A sign would come into view every once in a while promising just a few more kilometers, though I discovered that it defined only the length of that section of the trail, not the distance back to the trail head. Over 5 kilometers into my planned 2 kilometer wilderness run, I limped out of the trees onto a dirt road. This road continued for a while. I wanted to arrive at my next destination before sunset, which meant either doubling back on my trail immediately or finding my way back by another route in the same amount of time. After checking my position with my cameras GPS function to see whether I was getting closer to the trail head or not — I was not — I turned around and dove back into the forest.

Dropping with sweat and heaving like a pair of bellows by the time I returned to my motorcycle, the few photo snappers and sight seers stared, understandably. I dried myself off with my towel and cooled off in the shade of a giant hollowed Redwood stump.

The KLR waited, patiently. Then we continued on to San Francisco.

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