the photo journal + misc. news of Emma Kisiel

Redwoods Part 2: Jed Smith & Del Norte
















Our cabin was just outside Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, so that’s the area we saw the most of. Or anyway, that’s the area Cody saw the most of since he needed walked first thing and there were a few “suggested pet walks” near us (dogs aren’t allowed on trails in the parks). Friday morning, we started the day at the Jed Smith campground/day use area, on a little trail there. We stopped by the visitor center for recommendations, did the Simpson-Reed/Peterson trail, and then took Howland Hill Road out of the park – such a beautiful drive. In Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, we did the Yurok Loop, but we did a little detour down to a beach, too. We were the only people there, which if you’ve ever read this blog before, you know we very much appreciate. Afterward, we went to Trees of Mystery – didn’t actually go in, just went to the museum and gift shop – and then to Klamath for the last moments of daylight so I could see the Memorial to Captain Courageous, the “hero floating bull.” Then we turned around and headed back north to the cabin, where we made a delicious shrimp and lobster ravioli dinner.

I loved this day because, as incredible as the trees are, it was amazing to get to see the ocean, too. Being only about 350 miles south, it was a lot like the Oregon Coast that we know and love, so it felt like home.

Redwoods Part 1: To California / Crescent City / Thanksgiving





















Several affairs going on in our country/latent general bummed-out-ness prompted us some time ago to commit to spending the Thanksgiving holiday just the two of us, in nature, contemplating and appreciating the land where we’re fortunate enough to live. Last Wednesday, we started the drive down toward the Redwoods in California. We stopped at It’s a Burl in Cave Junction, OR (I had quite a few Roadside America picks for the trip) and checked in to our hotel in Crescent City, CA, where we spent the night eating pizza and watching Jeopardy (and so many Black Friday commercials 🙄). When walking the dog around our hotel, we found the Old County Cemetery, which was really neat. We walked around at Battery Point and got some groceries, and then headed out to the cabin we were staying in for the next few nights. The cabin was right on the Smith River, which is this gorgeous jade green color. We settled in there and then did the Paradise Trail nearby. Then it was back to the cabin to start making our meal.

Since we moved away from Colorado and our families, we have spent Thanksgiving in Chicago, (my folks’ in) Pittsburgh, New York, and Bend. This was our first year making our own meal, and we did an awesome job! With just an oven and stovetop, we made pan-fried salmon, mashed potatoes, cream corn, vegetarian stuffing, and sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts (and crescent rolls, which are their own challenge because someone in my family always burns them!). I also made a chocolate pudding pie, and I had made peanut butter blossoms, two staples in my family (and we had THESE THINGS from the Safeway in town 😲). All so good! With a bottle of wine, we talked about what we’re thankful for and past Thanksgivings and the past year. The cabin was off the grid so we had to conserve power, no Wi-Fi/TV, couldn’t plug anything in – it was wonderful. We spent all our downtime reading books. We had a lot to read about the parks; we researched and chose our trails, which we started the next day.

Mount St. Helens












We finally made it the 1.5 hours up to Mount St. Helens the weekend before last. Having just visited Crater Lake in the summertime, this was really different than we were expecting. The signs that do exist all look old and poorly maintained, and there isn’t really anywhere to stop and learn more. We just went to the south end, though, so maybe we’ll have a better time on another trip someday. We did some of the Lava Canyon Trail and it was really beautiful. Afterward, we explored the Ape Caves, the longest lava tube in the continental US. It was… way creepier than I thought it would be? Nat loved it, and I thought it was really cool at first, walking through this completely dark tunnel with some other people with flashlights. But then the tunnel started to feel like it was going on forever, and we hadn’t seen another person in either direction for a while, so we turned around. I guess I’m more of a fan of caves in the midwest… where they make them some of the absolute corniest tourist attractions around. I’d go back to the Ape Caves someday, with a big group of friends and better prepared than we were with the dinky flashlight I happen to keep in my backpack.

Also, we saw a roadkill beaver. I think I have only ever seen a beaver in the wild one other time, and it was also dead on the side of the road 😔 They’re so neat looking!

On Wednesday we head out of town for five days for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m so looking forward to disappearing from everything for a few days.