Armstrong Redwoods Reserve and Hiking Up To the Hermit’s Place

Monday April 25, 2022 Guerneville CA.

I think this is the longest post I’ve ever made. I took about 160 pictures and they were mostly all good ones so here it is with as few pictures as I could use and still tell my story.


I was real sore today from all the work and hiking I’d been doing up in the forest the last couple of days. My back was sore and my lower body felt like it’d been run over by a truck.

But I wanted to hike up to see if the Hermit was still alive and at his place. I hadn’t hiked up to his place in several years, driving up there instead. His place was only a couple miles from my house, the first mile through the redwood grove of the park and the second mile more up hill. Normally an easy hike when the body was in shape and a bit younger too.

Never the less, I was determined to do it today.

Up the road

I got going around noon leaving my place and walking up the road to the park about a quarter mile.road1


And into the park

This is the park entrance.entrance2


I headed over to the park visitor center to see if anyone knew anything about the Hermit, but they didn’t.center3


Redwood grove

I started into the redwood grove here going up this road.grpve4


I wanted to get a picture of the sign by this big tree, one of the largest ones in the park.bigtree5


The people there saw me coming and asked if I could tale their group picture in front of the tree.

I did that and took a picture of this sign to give you an idea about these big trees.jonestree6


Then I continued on up the road feeling all my body aches.trees7


The reason these trees are still standing in the park is lots of them have rot inside them that made them not acceptable for lumber, so they were spared.

Rotten trees

You can see some of the rot in this one that fell and was cut to show the insides.The rot didn’t bother the trees and they were fortunate they had it or they’d be lumber..rot8


The grove of trees is about three quarters of a mile long walking this road.road9


Smokey’s den

This tree used to have a sign on it saying Smokey the bear’s den. The burned out hole goes all the way through the tree which is from a long ago forest fire.



Park guy

Eventually I came out of the grove of big trees and into this area which is where the park offices are. I was going to ask a guy about the Hermit but as I was walking across the parking lot I heard someone call my name. It was Chris, a park guy, whose job was a historian, so I chatted with him for a good while since I know a lot of the history around here. He didn’t know anything about the Hermit either.office11


I told him I was going up through here and please, no ticket, thanks.trail12


Up the hill

This short cut was one of the easiest ways to get up to the Hermit’s place. But it was up hill and my body was really screaming. I had to rest often to make it but I pushed on.medow13


Rattle snake grass

I noticed these little blue flowers were blooming but I didn’t notice the rattle snake grass until I got home and looked at the photo.snakegrass14


The grasses have a seed pod that resembles a rattle snake’s rattles.rattles15


Nice meadow

Somehow I made it up the steepest part and continued across this meadow that was still going up but not so fast.medow14


I made it to the road and hiked up this  steeper part before it leveled off a bit.roadup15


Dynamite shed

I spotted this old storage building along side of the road. It’s an old dynamite storage shed my great grandfather would of used to haul dynamite to the old mine that was further back in the hills. He hauled freight to the mine with his wagons and horses for a number of years.powder16


Hermit’s place

I continued on up the road to the Hermit’s entrance to his place which takes off to the left here.road17


I made it up to his house a bit beat and needing a good break. No cars in the drive which was not a good sign. He doesn’t drive but a care giver would.house17


I walked up to his doors and looked at his bell but decided not to ring it as it didn’t look like anyone was here.hermits18


Older life and death

These are his front doors where I sat and rested and gave older life and death some thoughts.doors19


Two things

There’s two things in like a younger person cannot comprehend, no way. One is older age, you have to live it to understand it.

And the second thing even an older person cannot comprehend is death. Some things in life can only be comprehended by living it. It’s the only way I’ve realized in my older age.

I tried to think of how the Hermit would think at this time, but I think differently than him so realized I couldn’t really do that.

But never the less I sat for a good long time contemplating things and resting up my body for the return trip back down the hill.

Garden area seat

I thought I should visit his garden area that was mostly gone and overgrown with weeds and sat in his chair which he set up for his last days.garden20


I cleaned off his chair an sat in it for the experience and did some more thinking on life.chair21


At one time he had about six hundred roses planted in this garden. roses23


Things fade

It’s interesting how a person is born and does their thing and then is gone and their thing fades too.

Nathan the Hermit  may be still alive and staying with some friends and on his way out, but there’s a good chance he’s passed. His place is too far out in the woods for caregivers. I have no way to check on that but if he’s gone I’ll hear about it eventually.

I know if he could be, he would of liked to pass in his house if he could so I think he has passed or is about to.

Headed on home

After a good rest I started my trek towards home. Since my body was so beat I took the road back down the hill hitting it here. The park is still closed up in this part because of a huge forest fire that came though the area a couple years ago so that’s why all the signs.down25


Fortunate for me the trip back down was all down hill but at this point even that was pretty hard on the ol body.

Park main trail

Once I was back in the park grove I decided to take the main trail down through the park going through here. It was late in the day so there weren’t a lot of people in it which was nice.trail27


Burbank Circle

Why I took this trail is I wanted to go by this area, known as the Burbank Circle, a place we grew up in as we spent a good deal of time in this part of the park in olden days when I was much younger.circle28


These are some of the original benches cut from big redwood trees. These two are the only ones that are left, the others rotted. Time passes.benches29


We used to lay on our backs and look up at the big circle of trees so I gave that a shot.trees29


The circle

The circle of trees was once just one big tree that died or burnt down and the new set of trees grew out of that one tree and then those trees died and the process was repeated quite of few times so the trees in the circle are all from the first tree which is quite amazing once you realize that and Burbank did. Luther Burbank is known for  his work cross pollinating fruit trees and is well know around this area.

I left the circle and headed towards home again.



I was almost to my house walking down the road when this turkey vulture landed right next to me, about twenty feet. I often wonder what I have going with these big birds from being close to some of the nests as they sometimes get fairly close to me which is not a normal thing for them. It’s likely just me.

Maybe this one is to let me know the Hermit has passed?vulture31


It wasn’t far to  my gate from there so I went on in and was going to have a much needed nap,……….But.gate32


No nap

After a good drink of water I was headed for that nap but saw my brother Tom outside with his Troy rototiller. Seems he couldn’t get it started although he said he had it going for a bit before it died and would not start again.troy33


We fixed it

I got some tools out and a chair and we started looking for the problem. It turned out to be a spark plug with a cracked ceramic insulator. After finding another spark plug to test things out, we had spark but it still wouldn’t start. After some more testing I said it’s not getting gas so he looked in the gas tank and it was empty. He said he just filled it awhile ago but it must of leaked out the carburetor.

He had one more problem with it, it wouldn’t go into reverse so we looked at that and finally made an adjustment that fixed that.

Now for that nap.

Nice day.

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2 Responses to Armstrong Redwoods Reserve and Hiking Up To the Hermit’s Place

  1. Jenny says:

    Glad for the update on the Hermit, in a way it seems as if you were mourning him and his friendship. I enjoy you blog, so informative about living life in the Pacific Northwest. I have a friend that lives close to the Smoky Mountains and enjoys it so much.

  2. Barb in Florida says:

    Enjoyed your hike, Bob. Too bad no word on Nathan. It was good of you to make the effort. Seems a bit of contemplation on things came from it. And maybe a sign from the Hermit it is as you suspect. It almost seems he knew you were there. Hope you got a refreshing night’s sleep and you have a nice day today.

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