Wow, the description of this loop has taken a lot longer than I thought it would, if I had had a thought about how long it would take.
Okay, so, we left off at the intersection of Tres Sendas and French trails and we are now deep in a the primeval Redwood forest. At the intersection, you hang a left and you are looking down a dirt path descending beneath a canopy of Redwoods and Laurel and you are surrounded by bracken and sword ferns, with a stream (assuming it has rained during the winter) tumbling down towards the bottom of the canyon, where it joins Redwood Creek at the bottom of the valley. (Did you know that there is a trout run up Redwood Creek each year?)
The water comes from runoff during the winter and hill drainage during the spring and summer. By the time winter comes along again, the streambed is dry and ready for some new rainfall.
If you know anything about Lucy, you know that (besides running to hell and back all over the hills) she is whacko for water: if she sees it, she’s in it, and (assuming it has rained during the winter) there’s water running alongside Tres Sendas, winding from one side of the trail to the other, under snags of deadfall and around ferns and young redwoods struggling in the shade of their elders.
Lucy has her spots. First she runs across an old fallen tree and scans the water below. It has not rained much this year, so the stream is not real swollen, but there is water and it is running. Well, trickling.
After she has run across the log and back, she hits the swimming hole splashes around and lays down. If you walk up to look at her, she gets this sort of panicked look, like she’s afraid you are going to ruin her fun and make her leave the water, which, of course, you are at some point.
Down, down down you go and it just gets prettier and more serene.
Deeper and deeper.
When you get to the bottom, you first see the junction of Tres Sendas and Starflower trails. And then it is a short pace to where Tres Sendas and Stream Trails meet. You are now in the bottom of the valley. And, well, it’s all uphill from here.
You go up Stream Trail a bit.
And as you do the Redwoods thin out and the forest gets a bit, well, uglier. If you continue going up Stream trail you reach a part that has lots of wild plum trees and looks a bit like a set for a Vietnam war movie. When I was younger, we called that section of the trail the War Zone. And a little farther even you get to Girls Camp. I don’t know how it got that name, but I do remember camping out there when I was a boy scout, on a cold rainy night a bunch of kids cramped in small threewalled hut and smelling of smoke. But on this loop, you don’t go that far, you go to Eucalyptus trail and, well crap, it’s short but damned steep.
Yep, we’re going up that.