In June of 1974 I reported for duty as a National Park Service Seasonal Naturalist at Redwood National Park in Crescent City, California. I had just graduated from U.C. Berkeley's School of Conservation and Natural Resources and looked forward to a summer of exploring and introducing others to the wonders of the new park's spectacular redwoods and coastline. That summer I kept and illustrated a journal which I would like to share with you in this and some following posts.
These posts were inspired by a serendipitous experience I had in mid-October, 2014 when I chatted with some rangers at Redwood National Park's Kuchel Visitor Center in Orick, California. I mentioned that I had been a ranger here forty years ago. Rangers Carey and Shaina said I should look at some staff photos they had just pulled up from the park's archive. Coincidentally the photos were from the summer of 1974! I said, there's Jim Early and my interpretation supervisor Linda Finn. In a second photo I recognized Ron Mastrogiuseppe who we called M-13 for his long name. In another photo of the seasonal staff I saw my twenty-five year-old self with long hair and my tinted German glasses from my Army duty there. Here's the photo with me third row back second from the left. M-13 is in the same row second from the right looking towards "Henry" who we named after his doppelganger Henry David Thoreau. Oddly, twenty years later I ran into "Henry" in Belize while watching howler monkeys in another national park.
Here I am with Rangers Carey and Shaina.
I presented them with one of the few remaining copies of the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail Guide which I illustrated that summer.
Here's my journal entry written at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove on 14 July 1974. Followed by my journal drawings from this grove.
Silence. The fog has inundated these ridgetop redwoods- drifting silently through the green-crowned spires. Listen! No sound but the softly mewing winter wrens punctuated by a raven’s harsh croak. Now even the wrens are silent. Ahh! there’s the wind being parted by the many fingered spires high above. The rhododendron leaves are shimmering- the ferns gently rocking with the same breath. No hurry here- the seasons come and go. The redwoods remain.