Armstrong Redwoods…Mushroom Season is Here!

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Armstrong Redwoods State Park is beautiful any time of year but now, in January, there’s a little something extra to enjoy! Mushrooms are popping up all over.  Though we didn’t score a find this time like we did years ago when we came across a bright red mushroom, we found some lovely little patches along the walkways.

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We went out on a sunny Sunday and the parking lot was full of hikers. It’s a great place to take children for a safe, level hike among the trees.  Set them free to look for mushrooms (but warn them to never touch….do not eat!) There are different kinds they can search for:

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Benches where you can stop and take a break:

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Signs to warn them about traffic (I love this one!):

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More mushrooms:

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The little “caves” created by past fires are spooky and irresistible to children:

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The amphitheater is a wonderful place to stop and read or relax for  a while.  We took our Bibles but after a few minutes our fingers were numb from the cold this time of year! As we sat there reading a young couple came up talking about what a wonderful place it would be to get married and how lovely the sound would be in the “theater”. Suddenly we were surrounded by beautiful opera as the young woman ran to the stage area and sang her heart out! Such a sweet moment!

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Following the path back to the parking lot we came upon more mushrooms:

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The “icicle” tree:

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and more beautiful paths to take back along the stream bed to the picnic area:

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It’s a truly beautiful and peaceful spot. A nice place to rejuvenate for the week ahead. Even with the parking lot full we had the path to ourselves at times, and met nice people to chat with at other times. Walking to the end of our time there, I spotted the light breaking through the forest to create this beautiful shadow….there but moments….like the troubles in this life if we hold them with an open hand….

IMG_5609adj The redwoods are a treasure, something I would miss terribly if I ever had to live somewhere else. Take time to make a trip to Guerneville and walk among the big trees..it will satisfy your soul.

Note for Photographers: It’s dark inside the forest. You’ll need a tripod to get the best images…which I forgot to take.  Many of these photos needed an ISO of 1600 because it was so dark…barely passable for a blog…and certainly not suitable for printing enlargements. If you have that in mind, to get the very best results, you’ll need a tripod so you can use an ISO of 100 or 200 and take a long exposure without flash.  I was forced to use  bounced flash lighting to get some of these images and a high ISO for the rest – Don’t wake up like I did, and decide to run out to the woods in such a hurry that in the  excitement over your wonderful idea,  you leave your tripod behind!

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