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Redwoods trail leads to a happy ending

I recently returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area after spending a week in your lovely state with a friend of many years. Stan and his family live in Rogue River, which is where I had the opportunity to peruse your local paper each morning. Any paper that includes the likes of the columnist Dana Milbank is my kinda paper.

Stan likes to hike, so he’s got it all, from the boots, and yes that’s plural, to zippered pants that double as shorts for the heat of the day. But it was his beloved handheld GPS that made this particular hike a rather fascinating journey, if not affirmation in the enduring spirit of manKind.

The hike he chose this day was the James Irvine Trail, a 4.5-mile hike (one way) through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and finally ending up at Fern Canyon. Should you like the big outdoors (as well redwoods so big it would take seven to 10 people holding outstretched hands in order to hug one), this trail is for you — not to mention Fern Canyon. Go out on the dance floor of Google to see it, because it defies description.

So we hit the trail that early morning upside the visitors center, arriving at Fern Canyon some 3 hours later. It was there, standing on a sandbar surrounded by 70- to 100-foot walls of ferns that he discovered his GPS had taken a little hike of its own … as in gone, out of its holster. Stan and I were both bummed. We figured he had set the pack down a couple three times in the course of our trek, but where? And how many folks came in behind us?

We had planned on taking another route back but then agreed it would be prudent to double back for a chance of finding his little buddy who’d gone AWOL. And dontcha know we had time to talk about all the possibilities — and then some.

Upon arriving at the visitor center empty handed, we had covered just about every scenario, from it holed up under some bush, to a proud new owner, and then yes, it being turned in via a lost-and-found mindset.

Out on the deck, the barbecue ribs were about done that next late afternoon when the phone rang. Stan had left his number with the ranger at the visitor center, you know, just for grins. And yes, you guessed it, somebody had turned it in. And what’s more, they left neither their name nor address. The park would be sending it to him C.O.D.

I’m reminded of a poem by Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata.” It would be fun to cut and paste it in its entirety, though the space here is limited. So I chose the final paragraph for your consideration.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Dru Canoose lives in Fremont, California.

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