Lost Man Creek is one of those spots I didn't plan on visiting but was instantly grateful for finding when exploring Redwood National and State Parks. I was traveling with my other half, a summer road trip to see the Redwoods, and we did not have a lot of plans set in stone other than our hotel in Arcata, California. The plan was to venture south one day, to see the sights around the Avenue of the Giants and then a couple of days north with no destinations in mind. One morning after coffee, the car was pointed north on the 101 and the exploring began. First stop was the Prairie Creek Visitor Center area to make a plan. We checked our Google Maps, searched for places online, and Lost Man Creek came up. We had nothing to lose, so we went.
Following the signs, we turned down the road that led to the parking lot. The road was narrow, dirt, and flanked by moss-covered trees. The parking lot was empty, which was a nice surprise, so we parked and headed toward the moss-covered picnic table. I can’t recall if there was a sign that had a functional map, but we followed what appeared to be an old road along the Lost Man Creek into the woods.
First things first, we posed with several large trees because that’s what you do in the Redwoods. After the photos, we admired how quiet it was in regards to the outside world. It was far enough from the 101, or there were enough trees, that it seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. I can remember just standing in a patch of sunlight coming in through mossy branches and listening to the creek trickle by. We went back, further and further, finding more solitude as we walked. With the solitude came endless ferns, a few white iris flowers, and honeysuckle. The ground was a brilliant green as far as you could see, with the creek barely visible along the trail.
This creek in this park, at this moment in time, holds a significance to me because it was a moment of complete freedom. It was relaxing yet fun, an easy hike yet beautiful, and accessible without the crowds. The time spent along Lost Man Creek was an ideal moment on public lands. To this day, I have wallpapers on my work PC of this specific place to remind me to calm down, take a moment, and find some peace when things get stressful. I can’t wait to get back, hike a bit further, and enjoy it all over again in a new way someday.
This post was created in one hour for the #naturewritingchallenge
**Editing done after the hour due to technical issues.