With all the wildfires going on, (I hope everyone is safe! ) I felt the need to visit a forest. I thought the air might be purer, which it was, and I would find some serenity, which I did. I decided to do a short hike at Huddart Park in Woodside. I was aware of the $6 parking fee, which I paid.
I passed several bikers going up the hills. I was surprised how high in elevation Huddart Park actually is.
The Redwood Trail I picked for my forest adventure is a 0.7 mile hike, a short loop with minimal elevation changes. I liked the markers that point out shrubs and trees – yes, the Redwood Trail has more to offer than just redwoods! I saw big leaf maples, douglas fir and sword ferns to name a few. I very much appreciated the poison oak sign, always confused on where it might lurk and what it looks like.
I also enjoyed the different shapes of the tree barks. One was a puzzle with pieces lying on the floor to complete. The mostly wood trail makes for a nice shady hike.
I crossed a few bridges which would hold a stream in the winter time. Overall, it was nice to be out in the woods.
Shinrinyoku is Japanese and literally means forest bath. It’s about the relaxing effects walking in a forest can have, improving our wellbeing.
Forest hikes are plentiful in the Bay Area. If you live in Silicon Valley and need a quick dip in a forest I recommend the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve in Los Altos, right next to Shoup Park.
The information at the entrance talks about how almost a century ago redwood saplings from the Santa Cruz Mountains were planted by Emma Halsey. Due to the lack of fog drip the health of the redwoods is declining and the risk of falling increased. Therefore this beloved park is going through a mayor overhaul. With the help of Grassroot Ecology, a non-profit in Silicon Valley, the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve has been replanted and restored with more locally appropriate plants. One of their achievements is the Adobe Creek Streambank Stabilization Project. An info table shows how they bioengineered the creek to flow in a slower pace.
The walkway through this little grove is amazing and in great condition. Calm sets in immediately. The path meanders through the grove with the Adobe Creek crossing a few times and adding the sound of flowing water.
Nevertheless the rest of the grounds needs some serious TLC. I could not find the rose garden, even though it is advertised on the map and on the cities website. The Nature Center is all boarded up and some raised garden beds are overgrown.
If you take the steps up from the nature walk – part of it is blocked by a fallen tree and you have to crouch underneath it to get by. I appreciated the pink ribbon that marks the poison oak bushes. Also a boy scout troop has labeled some native plants.
One of the must-sees for every visitor coming to the Bay Area are those “really big trees”. If you can, head over to Muir Woods and enjoy the short to medium hikes among the redwoods. If you like to park your car nearby you have to get there really early. Due to the micro climate it might even be a little damp.
Here in Silicon Valley there are a few patches of redwoods spread out. Notable is the walk at Redwood Grove Nature Preserve in Los Altos. This is only a short drive away, but it sure does transport you into the woods. Since this is a well kept secret you probably have the place to yourself. It is not much of a hike, just for show and tell. If you like you could have a picnic at next doors Shoup Park
Happy Earth Day! Now go hug a tree!
Do you know a good spot to see redwoods?
The difference between a Redwood and a giant Sequoia
The trees you find around here are the redwoods. A redwood is the tallest of trees and can reach heights of more than 350 feet / 107 meters. The giant sequoia is the world’s largest tree. It can grow to about 30 feet / 9 meters in diameter. To see the giant sequoia you have to go near the Sierra Nevada, as it grows only at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 feet.