Yet another lovely place the "Keeling Kids" visited last week was the Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve. It is called "Kruse" because a Mr. Kruse donated the land in 1933 to the state of California. The area is now maintained by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and you can learn more about the reserve on their website at http://www.parks.ca.gov/ . It contains second growth redwood, Douglas fir, tan oaks, and of course, rhododendrons. Our group is shown as we start out on one of the scenic hiking trails.
It was high noon when we arrived at the Rhododendron Reserve, and that means LUNCH! to the Keeling Klan. The forest provided a gorgeous, lovely area for us to spread out our picnic supplies, and enjoy some nourishment, before we started off for our trek through the woods.
This photo shows Martha, Brenda, Debbie, and Frankie enjoying their lunch in the shade of some very tall trees that inhabit the area. I read that the park service has to do a moderate amount of pruning of these trees in order to facilitate growth of the desired species. Apparently, the reason there is a wealth of rhododendron at this location is because of the direct result of normal plant succession patterns following a severe fire that occurred here some time ago.
Within the 317 acre reserve, there are 4 miles of hiking trails, and these trails will enable one to see a multitude of plant species---mosses, ferns, sorrel, and other forest undergrowth.. The photo on the right shows Cousin Debbie pointing to one of the pink rhododendron blossoms that occur in bushes up to 14 feet tall---much taller than I am! The photo on the left shows me studying one of the navigational signs along the trail. I find it helpful to take a photo of the directional signs when I am hiking, so if I get lost, I can look at the photos in my camera, to help me find my way back! When I read about the constant work that has to be done to maintain this picturesque place, as well as the fire that destroyed it, it brought to mind how "temporary" life on earth is. But the next thought it brought to my mind was the verse used by the Gideon Bible Society (http://www.gideons.org/) to explain why the Gideon organization does what they do: 1 Peter 1:24-25 says "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever." That is one of the reasons I like to give Gideon Bibles as memorial gifts, rather than flowers that will soon be wilted. One other great thing about visiting the Kruse Reserve is that it is FREE! So you can get some exercise, see incredible scenery, and have miles of flowery smiles! Tricia