A magnificent woodland with miles and miles of beautiful trails...

forest trail

forest

forest

forest trail

Most folks have heard about the fantastic coastal areas of The Sea Ranch, but it is highly recommended that during your visit you not neglect the forested region high up on the eastern edge of the community. Second and third growth redwood (sequoia semperviron) dominate the canopy, but many other varieties of trees and plants also thrive here. In the late fall and throughout the winter, a very wide variety of mushrooms sprout in the duff on the forest floor and in the spring a very particular set of wildflowers sprinkle their brilliance through the undergrowth of huckleberry and rhodedendron. Wild inhabitants include everything from bashful vols to brazen deer and all in between. Many of our raptors live in the branches of the tallest trees and it is here that, if you are very lucky, you will find our owls. A couple of times a year it is reported that someone got a glimse of a mountain lion. (Some locals find a walking stick useful in navigating the trail and reassuring in the unlikely event that they might meet one of these elusive creatures.) And, of course, one should not miss the banana slugs that prowl the forest after a good rain. They are the epitome of slime, the personification of ooze, and the actual embodiment of ectoplasm.

A hike of a few minutes to several hours will make it easy to consider what the world looked like to one of the Native Americans that lived here for millennia before the European adventurer arrived less than a couple of hundred years ago. That was a time when the redwood forest stretched up and down this part of the coast and continued unbroken from the coastal range all the way to the very edge of the ocean. In those days, the Pomo people collected the huckleberry, the blackberry, and many of the other foods that are here in abundance, but invisible to those of us who do our shopping in the supermarket. The river that flows to the ocean (the meaning of the Pomo word "gualala") in back of The Sea Ranch had salmon in it in those days and life in this natural garden was very simple. The "Hot Spot" is here on the Gualala River and legend has it that it was given it's moniker by Jack London (The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Sea Wolf, et al) who considered it to be one of the finest fishing holes in the entire world. It is fun to speculate as to how much of this area fed Jack's imagination when the novels were gestating in his noggin. Today, the Hot Spot is an excellent place for a family picnic (complete with classic picnic tables in sylvan setting). If you bring children with you, maybe you should suggest that they read London before they arrive. It might make their experience a bit different from the usual television driven imagination of today's youth. Who knows, they might even discover why us old folks used to read books.

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