Closed eyes. The stillness beats in your ears. The hammering Mendocino ocean surf is replaced by giggling streams and fern grotto waterfalls. Blue skies and sunshine swallowed by towering redwoods, ferns and moss – kept lush by the dark, dank, and cold of this rainforest environment. Walking more than five miles in this tranquil woodland, you are alone on the planet. The silence broken mostly by small bird voices and a lone tree frog far and away.
Other hikers occasionally cross your path with a nod and a smile.
The magic and spirit of Fern Canyon Trail at Russian Gulch State Park is ancient. Life here began long before humans breathed on this Earth. Despite our intervention, its mystical soul survives. The longer north trail (2.6 miles) up and over -- gets heart and lungs pumping -- to the Fern Canyon waterfall trail (another .7 miles) is worth the ascent. Loop back along the flat bike trail. Slowly come to your senses as you leave this dreamscape behind.