Monday, May 25, 2009

Attacked by Dinosaurs!

It was truly an adventure of Mike and Gina. We woke up early Sunday morning, packed our stuff and headed off through the Trinity Highway 299 over the North coast of California. Although only 130 miles as the crow flies, the road follows the Trinity River on its zigzag course to the Pacific Ocean, and generally takes about 3 hours driving. But that was okay, we knew that. I wasn't quite prepared when we topped out over the last mountain pass - and into a sea of fog, but one has to kind of expect that when traveling to coastal regions. Thirty minutes later up the coast we arrived at our destination, Gold Bluffs State Park, situated on the northern boundary of Redwood National Park. After a quick lunch of coffee and soup, we were off to our adventure.

We followed the dirt road down to the beach. We had come to Fern Canyon because of a friend's recommendation, he had mentioned that it was where Jurassic Park 2 - The Lost World, and the Ewok scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed. Really, we were there because of the The Lost World. This was the first movie Gina and I saw together when we were dating. So it's special to us. A giant Memorial Day weekend crowd met us, and we had to park a couple of hundred yards away from the main parking lot (which by that time had more than a few spaces open - those lying Rangers.)

Passing by dozens of grazing Roosevelt Elk, we started our hike up the canyon. Immediately, we knew we were in The Lost World. It's quite recognizable without hesitation. Upon choosing this destination, I was under the impression that there were bridges and whatnot, for crossing these faux-Costa Rica like jungle creeks. Um... no, there wasn't. Most of the time you are just crossing on stray logs stacked together, most of them covered in mud, wet and slippery. We paid no mind though, we were having fun after the long drive and snapping photos. We walked up the canyon a few hundred feet - it was slow going - and that was when he got me.

Remember the scene from The Lost World when the little dinosaurs attack the guy who has the tazer? He's down by the creek, one of the little dinosaurs comes up to him - too close - and then he hits him with the tazer? Then the little dinosaur brings back more of his little buddies, they attack the guy and eat him. Well, one of those little dinosaurs must have got left behind. There was a large fallen tree. I went left to go around it on the bank, Gina ducked under it going right. I ran into a deadend and had to turn back. Instead of going back the way I came, over a mud-soaked log with pointy branch stubs sticking out ready to impale me, I spied another log in the middle of the river. Looked good enough to me, so I gave it a shot. Two steps out on that log, the little dinosaur ran up behind me and took a nip out of my ankle. Whoooosh! The log rolled over and dumped me into the creek, soaking the entire front of my body, my camera, my face, and wetting my hair a little. Luckily, the creek was a little deeper right there, so I was able to stop my fall and not hit any rocks on the bottom. Only damage was a slightly sprained hand and a smashed fingernail (from the tripod I was carrying). Probably not the safest activity to do, just a week before we head to San Diego to run a marathon. Thankfully, my legs, ankles and knees are all okay, so no marathon plans were ruined.

Good thing for me I was wearing my Banff Canada jacket. Its much easier to save face when everyone around thinks you are a tourist. Now all the witnesses will say, "Remember that Canadian guy who fell in the creek?" See? Its much easier to remember things when it was a Canadian guy getting attacked by a tiny dinosaur, instead of "I slipped on a log and fell into the creek."