Romance in the Redwoods: Trees to Slugs

Connect with nature on the Sunday before Valentine's Day.

IT'S DIFFICULT TO QUIBBLE... with the notion that Valentine's Day is just about the glitteriest of goings-on. From shiny hearts, the kind that top candy boxes, to shiny greeting cards, the kind that sparkle in light, to shiny pieces of jewelry, it is a holiday that's very much built around the aesthetics of iridescence. Christmas is another shimmery occasion, and New Year's Eve, too, but the fourteenth day of February takes the proverbial cake on this matter (or the chocolate-dipped strawberry, if you prefer). But if shininess isn't your jam, and you prefer faux bois and fir needles to glittery gewgaws, there is a way to honor the spirit of the lovey day. You only need to step into nature, and pack a picnic for your paramour, or go on a hike with your sweetheart, or head out for an invigorating morning of birdwatching with your honeypie. Or, if you'd like a more guided-type event with Valentine's at its heart, only on the Sunday before the holiday (which is on a Tuesday in 2017), consider a visit to Big Basin Redwoods State Park for...

ROMANCE IN THE REDWOODS: People and their approach to kissy feels will not be the topic of the Sunday, Feb. 12 outing; rather, you'll be learning all about the trees in the event's very name, and banana slugs, too, and how the notion of "romance" works in the ecosystem of this glorious, branchy-behemoth'd state park. It's free, this two-hour stroll, making it even more appealing, given that sometimes Valentine's Day involves a splashy dinner out, or lunch, or flowers, or a movie, or a custom-made watercolor painting of a banana slug (which might be the coolest gift ever, if your partner digs banana slugs and watercolors). You'll need money to park for the 11:30 a.m. event, ten bucks, but nothing to enjoy some of the most sublime sights around. Need to feel wonder just ahead of what is often depicted, rightly, as a wonderful occasion? Go nature. Go redwoods. Go banana slugs. And save the sparkly stuff for Feb. 14, if you like.

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