Just outside of Crescent City is Stout Grove, an old growth forest where there are mighty redwoods up to 2,000 years old. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see these massive creatures. From the church, it's about a 16 mile round trip, a trip we wanted to do early so we could get on the road to ride to the next town.
A little behind schedule we got to the sign that read, "Stout Grove 4 Miles" at the threshold of where pavement became gravel. It didn't take more than three seconds for us to stop in our tracks and stare straight up at the towering redwoods. We knew it would be a slow 4 miles to the short walking loop that is Stout Grove.
We stopped and stared many times, smoked beneath the shelter of the trees –"these trees are tall, we have to get high"–the five of us crawled inside a tree and had plenty of space to stop and dance and then crawl out like clowns coming out of a tiny car. Lau and Flo turned back before we got to the end but, Martin, Will and I rode to the grove and then continued the journey of foot.
The journey became more intimate. We walked on the soft forest floor made by thousands of years of pine needle build-up; we walked on the remnants of fallen trees, cut down trees, and got our faces up to the gnarled knots and twisted burls in the trunks like we were wandering through some museum of modern art.
The sun came out for us, a beautiful afternoon to ride through. The hills were indeed massive, winding up endlessly next to more redwoods and the downhills did not disappoint. It was a ride through a magical forest, a preview of Avenue of the Giants, the scenic route I drove through last year with Nick, Vic, and Adrian. At that time in my life, I never thought I would be back over here a year later on my bike.
Life's funny that way. I feel like that trip happened last week. Time is so fucked in my head; it's lost its linear nature, every experience is new while still calling back to the past causing this strange overlap in my mind like everything is happening all at once. If only everyone could live outside of time for a while. Now, the morning after, we're all still hiding from the rain in our tents. I just saw two deer, a mother and her child while I was taking a leak outside.