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Redwood National Park's (Not So) Bald Hills

Cross-posted all over the place; my apologies to those of you who see this more than once.

I suggest visiting California in spring; I suggest visiting the redwoods in late spring; and I suggest visiting Redwood National Park's Bald Hills Road right now.

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I began my first week of my third summer season as an interpretive ranger at Redwood National Park on Monday, and we spent Wednesday afternoon training in the field. For updates on vegetation and fire management within the parks, we began our afternoon at Lyons Ranch at the park's southern boundary. Ranchers burned the prairies on the ridgelines above the redwoods to provide more nutritious grazing for their cattle, just as the local tribes have for elk and deer over millenia, and as the park's fire management staff now does within its boundaries. Our main fire guy informed us that two years after such a prescribed burn, the purple lupine often respond with robust blooms; but in over twenty years on the job, he had never seen a bloom quite like this.

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If you can make the trip, visit now and take that extra time to explore Bald Hills Road beyond the redwood forest; you'll get a special treat that we just can't offer any old time!

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
sbr2004
May. 17th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
that's pretty awesome. the last photo looks like some enthusiastic child got ahold of the lilac crayon and colored in all the wrong places!
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Dang, you could get a ranger job with analogies like that ... do I have to compete with you now, too? {|;D>
pipu
May. 17th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Absolutely stunning!
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
You should make a trip of it. Everything seems just about perfect at the park right now.

Alternatively, you could inquire with more local types, get a hold of knowledgeable people on the fire/lupine tip, and keep it closer to home if you have any spectacular blooms in the Beaver State (ha ha, you live in the Beaver State!).
steprous
May. 17th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
love the purples, I plan to be out there about late sept oct
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Most people seem to like the weather best around the switch from September to October (I personally prefer the spring), but don't expect the Bald Hills to look anything like above; expect instead to see them brown and burning. The fire management folks encourage the public to check out the burns, so if you have any interest, head uphill this fall.

The redwood forest itself, of course, looks and feels spectacular any old time. The autumn seems to provide the most reliable dose of redwoods-basking-in-the-sun smell, a unique scent I especially love. But the overwhelming swirling-lupine-syrup smell (I have to credit another ranger with that one - thanks, Nancy Jo!) certainly rivals the former for favorite.
steprous
May. 18th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
well summer is for the rockies for me, I'm heading there on a road trip this summer then down the west coast sept oct.
crazylife99
May. 18th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC)
Last year my husband tried to call someone in the part about putting together a "Camp Fire Talk". I don't know the actual name. He used to do it at the state parks in Monterey, he would offer some type of weather related talk around a campfire w/in the park. Any idea who he could talk to about doing this in Redwood? I don't know who he previously tried talking to, but I don't think his calls were ever returned.
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
If he'd like to do a guest campfire program semi-regularly, he'd have the best luck joining us as a volunteer. If he'd prefer to do a one-off program, I'll check into how to go about that (and you have a written record of that here, so I have to follow up on this for you ;)> ).

Of course, if he wants to get paid for the campfire talk, we already pay people for those {|;)>
dylansbeard
May. 18th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
Beautiful place, beautiful photos. That first one is really terrific. I love the composition.
roses_ramble
May. 18th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
What lovely pictures, especially the first one. Over here lupins are classed as weeds! My son always takes note of where summer bush fires are, so that when winter comes (when most of our native plants are blooming) he knows just where to go to find native orchids and other plants that grow so well after the fires.
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
Here, weediness depends upon the particular species of lupine. We like our native purple lupine just fine, but the yellow bush lupine - native just a few hundred miles to the south - stabilizes our ordinarily dynamic coastal dunes and fixes nitrogen in the ordinarily nitrogen-poor soil, facilitating further invasion. Big pain in the ass.
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
I recall much of composition from my high school photography classes - if only I remembered any of the technical stuff! I did all that just before digital cameras became readily available to the general public, so I mostly learned dark room stuff I never use anymore. And I just let all the shutter speed/film speed/aperture setting/focusing stuff atrophy when our previous digital camera proved so smart. I now have to figure out how to make this one behave - everything comes out darker :P> Thanks for the compliment, and seriously, get your ass out here and take some photographs :)>
dylansbeard
May. 19th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
You'll get the hang of the manual controls. Just remember, too dark is better than too bright. :) I'm going to North Carolina in a little over a week, but I'll get out there eventually. :)
overton_cat
May. 18th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Amazing colour. A bit like our bluebell woods. But being closed in by trees you don't get the sense of expanse of colour like you've managed to capture here.
rantingranger
May. 18th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
I intend to return with the Wife and the Boy this Sunday and spend more time snapping photographs (I took these during quick breaks in the training); I also happen to know of at least two far more capable photographers heading there this weekend, so I look forward to what they will capture.
eszra
May. 19th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
these are beautiful, you capture the landscape so well. Reminds me of back home in Oregon, nothing like here in Florida where we don't have hills. I visited the redwoods once when I was younger. Great place.
rantingranger
May. 19th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
Ah, Florida ... I understand your adopted state has a highest elevation of ~300' somewhere in the panhandle; legend has it that it consists of a trash heap! But Florida has so much I'd like to see - preferably while magically cocooned in my ever-60-degree Northwestern climate - and I look forward to seeing it through your discerning lens. Especially crabs!

(By the way, I took the image for this userpic in Eugene, Oregon's Hendricks Park.)
tai_lu
May. 19th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Beautiful scenery. The drifts of purple look lovely :)
rantingranger
May. 20th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
More to come soon; I just snapped these during quick breaks in training, but tomorrow I will head up with the Wife and the Boy and possibly crazylife99; I'll take my time with the shots, and hopefully some superior photographers will as well.
martianmoons
May. 20th, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
I saw crazylife99's photos of lupine covered fields, too. Your photos are so stunning, to see that haze of purple in the distance amongst the green of the meadows! :)
rantingranger
May. 20th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I first visited the Bald Hills in August 2004 - no purple in the lupines, no green in the meadows. I still liked the views, but spring tops all other seasons, at least on this coast.
fuggler
Jun. 11th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Hi there. I think park rangers in general are very inspiring people. I'm in need of more inspiring journals to read, and LJ chums who share the same outdoorsy interests. Sooo, I'm adding you to my list, hoping we can talk about waterfalls, trees, etc. :)
rantingranger
Jun. 11th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Awesome; I hope I don't ruin our inspiring image with all the trash I talk in here! After checking out your journal (and friending you back), something tells me I don't need to worry about it. And yes, waterfalls, trees - I hope they come up in here a lot more now that life has stabilized for the summer.

And which waterfall do we have there in your userpic? Burney Falls?
rantingranger
Jun. 11th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, dur ... I also maintain the Worldwide Park Rangers community; feel free to give it a gander for all your rangering jonesing needs.
fuggler
Jun. 11th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
Hahah, it's ok, I'm a realist. I'd love to read about a park ranger's rants on not-so-smart tourists, unprepared hikers, inconsiderate littering shitbags, etc. Maybe it'll convince me that I'll never want to be one myself, lol. Yes, the icon is Burney Falls. Definitely one of my favorites.

I'd join your community but I won't have anything to share. :-\
rantingranger
Jun. 12th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
I'd guess that fewer than half of the people in that community ever say anything or even range, so we have a precedent for welcoming those who just like to watch {|;)> You could read about the totally unprofessional RV Name Game there.

And you've changed your default userpic to ... Alamere Falls?
(Anonymous)
Jun. 12th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Hmmk, I'll join.

Alamere Falls is in Point Reyes, so when you do come in town, I hope you guys can do that hike. I like it 10x better than the other "flow into the ocean" fall in California - McWay Falls in Big Sur.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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