We started the day by riding our mountain bikes through the of the Jedediah Smith National Forest to the “Stout Grove.” Purported to be the oldest of the redwood stands, Stout Grove is difficult to get to but well worth the trouble, especially by bike. Nothing but giant trees and ferns and quiet. I’m not the sort of person to use the word “magical” to describe anything, but if I was that sort of person, that’s the word I’d use.
Since it’s early in the season, we had the place entirely to ourselves. On the way out we did met a young guy, guitar in-hand, clearly on his way in to the grove to find his personal zen place. It was good to know that he’d have the place all to himself, too.
Back in the bus, we pressed southward along the coast, stopping to hike “Damnation Trail”— a two-mile singletrack that switchbacks 1,000 feet down through the big trees from the edge of Highway 101 to a wild and rocky ocean beach. Once the traffic noise recedes, it quickly becomes yet another zen place.
With a straight face, we can say we’ve seen the Redwood Forest. In the same way, we can say we’re seeing America on this road trip. But the truth is we saw only a sliver of this great forest, and most of this great country will elude us. We’re just glad the bus takes us where it does, wherever that where may be.