Manzanitas are the “rock stars” of woody shrub diversity in California. Ranging from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the coastal bluffs along the Pacific, from temperate rainforests along the north coast to arid mountain slopes in Southern California, a wealth of manzanita species and subspecies can be found in an astonishing array of environments. Manzanitas occur on serpentines, dunes, volcanic soils, sandstone outcrops, dense shale, granite, gabbro–the list goes on. Central Coast manzanitas are some of the most diverse in the world.Continue Reading
Updated Hiking Maps
The book’s trail guide showcases the geologic history of the Lassen country. We have selected hikes that provide examples of the Lassen Volcanic Center and regional geology. USGS 1:24,000 scale maps show the trails and parking locations. The guide is illustrated but watch for references to figures and tables in previous chapters. Also, important background information about the geology in each hiking guide is discussed.Continue Reading
The route is now complete!
In mid-November 2019, the city of Eureka completed the Eureka Waterfront Trail by connecting a one-block section on 1st Street. This now allows bikers and walkers to hike from Tydd Street to Herrick Avenue — all on paved Trail!Continue Reading
In 2012, after nine years of writing Conifer Country, the book had evolved into my Master’s Thesis at Humboldt State. Based on all the time and energy we had put into this book, my wife Allison and I decided to take the leap and start our own small business. We had options with other publishers but the time seemed right for us to print and distribute the book ourselves. Conifer Country was our first baby and we wanted to keep it around. The book had become a well-refined masterpiece and we were going to take on all aspects of getting it into people’s backpacks.
Currently in their 6th round of printing–with over 12,000 copies sold–Conifers of the Pacific Slope and Conifer Country are the books that built Backcountry Press.Michael Kauffmann, co-owner of Backcountry Press
Learn about current and future opportunities with the Volunteer Trail Steward program and Humboldt Trails with this interview with Rees Hughes. For 10 years now Volunteer Trail Stewards have made it possible for the county and municipalities to expand our trail system. Maintenance and upkeep is always a concern, but volunteers have kept costs so low expansion is possible.
More opportunities available at Humboldt Trails.Continue Reading
Chris Valle-Riestra is an exceptional volunteer and trail steward–with a particular fondness for the Klamath Mountains. He has been spearheading trailwork in the Orleans Ranger District for many years and knows the trails well .
He has updated conditions of trails on the forest for fall 2019. Click through to the hiking descriptions and read his comments.Continue Reading
From the In Defense of Plants website: Today we celebrate conifers with educator, author, and ecologist, Michael Kauffmann. Michael fell in love with conifers early on and has been doing everything he can to share this passion with the rest of the world, from writing conifer books to creating a conifer-themed trail system in the Klamath Mountains. Learn how Michael and others are working hard to map rare conifers, study the effects of climate change, and hopefully conserve their diversity for future generations. Join us as we geek out over these amazing trees.
Prairie Creek Redwoods National and State Parks
The most extensive accessible trail system in Humboldt County is in the Elk Prairie/Big Tree areas of Prairie Creek Redwood State Park and Redwood National Park. This trail system offers many ways to mix and match the trails that network this area. Included in the route are magnificent old growth redwoods, picturesque Prairie Creek, the open grasslands of Elk Prairie, a nature trail, and miles of accessible trail.
Geology of the Lassen Country
The Bumpass Hell Trail is one of the most popular destinations in the Lassen Country. The trailhead is at the large parking area 0.25 mile (0.4 km) east of Lake Helen. The trail traverses the dacite of Bumpass Mountain for the majority of the hike. Also, note the well-preserved glacial polish and striae in the dacite alongside the first few hundred yards of the trail. They were created by the glacier that started from the Lake Helen cirque. At the viewpoint where the trail turns east, about 0.5 mile (0.8 km) from the trailhead, it crosses briefly into andesite of Mount Diller. Here a National Park Service trailside interpretive display shows a model of Brokeoff Volcano before erosion.
Trailhead: Bumpass Hell trailhead parking lot
Distance: 3.0 miles (4.8 km) round trip
Key Geologic Features: Hot springs, clay-altered bedrock
Hiking and wildflower adventures
Description: Located on a bend in the Van Duzen River, Owen R. Cheatham Grove is a majestic patch of old growth redwoods spared by the founder of what would become the Georgia-Pacific Plywood and Lumber Company. The short hike loops through the grove. From the west side of the parking area two trails lead across the riverbed to the Van Duzen River. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park offers a small network of trails on the north and south side of the Van Duzen River. A summer bridge crosses the Van Duzen to 1.5 miles of additional trails on the south side. The north side trails include a nature trail with interpretive signs, a meandering walk up and down the hillside east of Grizzly Creek, and a stretch of trail west of Grizzly Creek.
The Earth is not always quiet. An isolated region of northeast California offers a land of boiling springs, steaming sulfur vents, mud pots, and volcanoes. The boisterous geology of the southern Cascades is defined by Lassen Volcanic National Park. A complex and compelling geologic story is told in The Geology of the Lassen Country, a new book by R. Forrest Hopson and Michael A. Clynne.Continue Reading
The In Defense of Plants podcast took deeper look at the most diverse woody plant lineage in western North America (Arctostaphylos spp.) with San Francisco State Professor Dr. Tom Parker who has devoted much of his career to uncovering the ecology and evolution of the manzanita lineage. From mutualistic relationships with rodents and fungi to their dependence on fire, you will soon find that manzanitas play an important role in the ecology of California’s natural ecosystems. It is time we start paying these plants the respect they deserve and I hope this episode is a good start to doing just that.
Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act
Ryan Henson called in to KHUM’s Happy Trails Program to discuss a new public lands bill that is being celebrated as an act of bipartisan conservation. It is a project Ryan has been working on for 11 years and he shares his excitement for the work and what it means for California.
(Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. cratericola)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a variable taxa because of the wide range of latitudes it explores across the northern hemisphere. Guatemala bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi subsp. cratericola) is a subspecies because of its disjunction distribution in Guatemala. It is also the only taxon not included in Field Guide to Manzanitas. Fernando Tobar recently took a trip to the Sierra Cuchumatanes, in Guatemala and observed these plants in their native habitat. That trip inspired this post.Continue Reading
In the massive flood of 1964, the once bustling community of Pepperwood was inundated by 30 feet of water. What remains on this floodplain of the Eel River are a few homes and farms, some vegetable stands, and a robust redwood forest. The Drury-Chaney Groves trail bisects the flat alluvial bench populated with redwoods that lie between the Avenue of the Giants and US 101. It is a flat walk and an accessible trail through several extensive groves of towering redwoods.
It was Berkeley paleontologist Ralph Chaney who first brought back ‘dawn redwood’ seedlings with him from China in the late 1940s. This deciduous sequoia joins the coast redwood and the giant sequoia as the three conifers known as redwoods.
Getting there: Drive south on US 101 for 32.5 miles taking Exit 674 (Avenue of the Giants/Pepperwood). Turn left onto the Avenue of the Giants for 2.7 miles. The road passes through what remains of the community of Pepperwood taking a bend to the south, quickly reaching the parking area for the Drury-Chaney Groves trailhead. Parking is available on both sides of the Avenue of the Giants. Approximate driving time, 40 minutes.
The route: From the parking area, the trail crosses a small open space and enters the redwood forest for the remainder of the walk. The level trail crosses the old Barkdull Road (0.6) — a right turn here will take you to another access point from the Avenue of the Giants in half a mile; a left turn leads to the general location of the old Barkdull Ranch (0.1). After crossing the Barkdull Road, the trail reaches the loop trail (0.7). The loop is 0.9 mile long (1.6). The return to the parking area necessitates retracing your steps (2.4).
Extras. Once located between Pepperwood and Stafford, the town of Elinor had a railroad stop, hotel, post office, and logging camp on the east side of the Eel River and a collection of homes, store, and school on the west side. A ferry plied the river connecting the two sides of the town. However, when the 1964 floodwaters receded there was little of Elinor left. Just after you turn left onto the Avenue of the Giants from Exit 674, turn left again on Elinor Road and drive 150 yards to the concrete barriers that block old US 101. You can follow the old road for a short distance to the bridge (dated 1938) crossing Jordan Creek. During periods of low water, it is possible to wander east to the Eel River.