The commute: Then and now

  • Our current commute is the half-mile Redwood Access Trail from the campground at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to the Visitors Center.

Then: Arizona 202 to The Arizona Republic in downtown Phoenix, where I was a reporter, 8 a.m. returning at 6 p.m. Tom took the same route off-peak, 2 p.m., for his evening shift at the paper, returning at 11 p.m.
Now: Volunteering at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California, Tom and I walk from the campground to the Visitors Center on the Redwood Access Trail, a half-mile rise of nine feet through old-growth redwoods, ferns and blooming redwood sorrel, leaving at 8:45 a.m., returning at 12:45 p.m., three days a week.

Then: 45 minutes.
Now: 10 minutes.

Then: Honking horns, screeching brakes, blaring sirens.
Now: The police-whistle call of the varied thrush.

Then: Car air-conditioner at full blast, not making a dent in the 100-plus-degrees.
Now: Fleece jacket, topped with waterproof covering to ward off rain or ever-present drips.

Then: Rush hour, stop-and-go and, confession time, some yelling at other drivers.
Now: Banana slugs and snails set the pace and, confession time, whispered questions about their destination.

Then: Watching other commuters eat burritos and gulp coffee.
Now: Watching elk and black-tailed deer munch on prairie grasses.

Then: Occasional detour because of accidents.
Now: Regular detour to the Revelation Trail to ogle more old-growth.

Then: Dragging laptop, bags of take-home work, lunch and gym clothes that never got used.
Now: Carrying my coffee and knitting, for quiet moments between visitors.

Then: Arrival, email, phone messages, meetings, deadlines, break-neck pace until departure.
Now: Arrival, set up interpretive table to share amazing facts about ancient redwoods.


  1. Reply
    Nancy Warfield April 28, 2017

    that’s awesome!

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      Thanks, Nancy

  2. Reply
    Keven April 28, 2017

    Love it – in so many ways.

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      Thanks, Keven.

  3. Reply
    Peter Corbett April 28, 2017

    Sounds delightful.

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      It is!

  4. Reply
    dan kincaid April 28, 2017

    Very cool. The “interpretative table” is intriguing. Dan K.

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      Thanks, Dan. Today I shared with people from Switzerland, Germany and Minnesota, among others.

  5. Reply
    dstabler April 28, 2017

    Love this story format. Hope the rain stops soon. Your photos are awesome.

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      Thanks, David. We have sun for the second day in a row. So excited to see it that I practically laid down in the road to bask in it.

  6. Reply
    Jeff and Mary Jane Curry April 28, 2017

    now that is Living!

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      You said it!

  7. Reply
    Kirstin C April 28, 2017

    LOVE it. The commute is the worst part. Except when you have a bike commute. Then work is the worst part.
    So happy you’re doing this. I think I’m 75% of the way to convincing my Tom to go all in!

    • Reply
      Judy Nichols April 28, 2017

      Fabulous! Come hang out with us somewhere on the road and we’ll get him over the last 24 percent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.