On the 31st August 2013, Lesley, my wife and soulmate, retired after 35 years teaching in secondary schools. Two days later, as planned, we set off for a magical celebratory holiday, taking in New York, California and Oregon. Our trip became known as the ‘Freedom Trail’.
While on the Freedom Trail, I journaled every day and ended each entry with a leadership moment/lesson. With apologies for the absence last week, here’s another one.
Leaders learn, each day and continuously.
And so we left Eureka behind and journeyed up the coast initially, and then inland up the Interstate 5.
We were on the search for elk!
Our information was we would see them in a place called Prairie Creek State Park or Elk Prairie Meadow! So heading there was our next objective!
However, you know how it is. Distractions happen, and you spot things along the way. That’s why we stopped when we saw the run up to Fern Canyon. The track looked pretty bumpy for the hire car – and a saloon car at that! We also didn’t fancy a bill for new suspension or exhaust, as the track looked like it needed a four wheel drive vehicle. So we walked about half a mile into the canyon.
It was well worth the detour. The canyon was stunning! We wished we had a thesaurus with us. We’ve seen very many beautiful sights so far, and we needed a new set of words to describe them!
Reading about the canyon in our guide book, we discovered that parts of ‘Jurassic Park’ were filmed here. You could imagine velociraptors springing out of hiding, and a Tyrannosaurus-Rex crashing through the ferns and trees. No wonder the filmmakers used this setting. It was perfect – quiet, still and yet with an air of underlying menace too. Our imaginations ran wild! As we walked back to the car, there was, at times, an overwhelming temptation to keep looking behind us.
Our drive through the state park continued. Sadly – no elk! However, we, fortunately, bumped into a forest ranger, and she told us that elk were just half a mile down the road. As the picture shows, we found them. They were just grazing in a meadow on the edge of the tree line.
It was a delight to stand by our car just watching them rest and feed. I’d never seen elk at first hand before, so this was a real treat. We stayed a while watching.
It seemed quite a large herd, and it appeared the bull male was chasing a few likely candidates for his harem while keeping an eye out for any possible challenges to his supremacy.
The bull elk was magnificent. Proud, alert and constantly on the lookout, it was hard to catch a picture of the bull motionless. Though, as you can see, we did get one shot!
Finishing with the elk, we stopped at the visitors centre at Elk Prairie, had a quick warm by the fire and hot chocolate, and then journeyed north through Redwoods State National Park, heading for Roseburg, Oregon.
As we travelled north, the clouds hung around the tree line. It was a cold, cloudy day and the trees seemed to stretch for eternity. We’d taken a trip on the Sky Trail, and the views were incredible. If you ever journey that way, it is well worth the trip.
Spotting signs along the way, our journey was pleasantly interrupted by visits to other amazing sights.
Some of the trees are immense. We stopped for a trek into the woods to see the ‘Big Wayside Tree’. That’s my wife at the foot of the tree. All around us were examples of these magnificent trees, and we were awed by their beauty and splendour.
One of our prime objectives for the Freedom Trail was to see the redwoods, and here we had them in all their glory. All around us were examples of these magnificent trees, and we were awed by their beauty and splendour. And as a bonus, we even found the native Banana slug! Not that my wife was too impressed.
Our wanderings over, we pressed on to the state line, heading for an overnight stop in Roseburg.
After an excellent day today, I could feel new excitement mounting within me, as I looked forward to the prospect of meeting two special online friends face-to-face for the first time. Barry Smith and D. Scott Smith were colleagues in our #LeadWithGiants Google+ group and I’d only ever spoken to them in Google Hangouts. Our detour into Oregon was so that we could meet up. I couldn’t wait for tomorrow!
Reflecting later that night, I saw today as another day of ‘firsts’ and another day of learning! Seeing wild elk at Prairie Creek Meadow, taking the Sky Trail to view some fabulous vistas, and seeing Big Country Oregon as we crossed the state line.
As always, I welcome your comments and dialogue. I also wish you an entertaining and enlightening experience of this series of posts. Thank you for reading.
Leaders learn, each day and continuously. Their curiosity knows no boundaries, and they are ever alert to opportunities.