Preparing for the Trail

 

After a long week and a half of training, including meeting the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Wilderness Ranger Corps Team, getting acquainted with SCA policies, the history of the organization, Leave No Trace principles, a miniature work-skills weekend, camp craft, and a Wilderness First Aid certification, the Klamath National Forest Trail Crew said farewell to our new friends and set out on the long journey south to California. We took a brief detour down Oregon highway 199 along the beautiful Smith River until at long last we found ourselves under the towering canopy of the giant coast redwoods. Between our explorations of the redwood groves, we were learning more about each other, earning nicknames, and making final preparations before heading out to Siskiyou County.

 

We spent our Independence Day on the Boy Scout Tree Trail, before heading down to the creek to cool off from the hot afternoon. After dinner we headed back to camp and situated ourselves on the beach to await the fireworks in Crescent City. Beforehand, we were fortunate enough to meet our neighbor Melanie who sang us some songs and enjoyed our campfire with us.

 

We spent our last night on the coast hiking up to high ground, again in the company of redwoods, where we silently listened and reflected on what has brought us here, to this place, to this group of people. On our hike back to the beach we walked alone and reflected on our individual goals for the crew. After watching the sun set into Grandmother Ocean (thank you, Melanie) we realized there had been a group of sea otters just below the rock outcropping on which we were sitting. After watching them swim away, we shared our goals with each other.

 

We are hopeful that our knowledge of each other, our collective love of cheese, and our passion for hiking will keep us safe from the Bigfoot which we may have already encountered.

And now to head out on that old, dusty trail…