Northern California—The Redwoods
When you find yourself in a place like the Redwoods National Park, words become superfluous.
Trying to describe or photograph the redwoods is a little like trying to describe or photograph the Grand Canyon. It just cannot be done. We have been lucky to spend six days here–camping in them, hiking in them and driving in them. It’s been a real special time for us.
Since words can’t begin to do justice to what we have been experiencing, all we can do is let the trees (and the following photos) speak for themselves.
Now, just the facts . . .
At one time (back when the dinosaurs roamed) redwoods were found throughout America, pretty much from coast to coast. In fact they were common throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Now we are down to just three species. The Dawn Redwood found in China (just recently), the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) found on the western slopes of the Sierra NevadaMountains in Central California and the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) found in a narrow band along the Northern California coast and into southernmost coastal Oregon.
The Giant Sequoia is bigger at the base, has more individual mass and lives up to 3,500 years. The Coast Redwood is taller, lives to around 3,000 years but more of them grow per acre than the sequoias. In fact the Coast Redwood groves have more biomass per acre than any place on earth. Standing within one of their groves, that fact is easy to understand.
When man arrived on the scene there were an estimated 2 million acres of redwoods, about the size of YellowstoneNational Park. 95% of that is now gone. Most of the remaining stands are in public hands. The state of California and the Save-the-Redwoods League came to the rescue starting in the early 1900s by acquiring hundreds of groves and protecting them in 26 state parks. In 1968 three of the state parks were encompassed by the national park when it was created. In 1978 Congress added 48,000 acres to the National Park’s 58,000 acres, including about 36,000 acres that had been logged. Crews are slowly restoring the land and replanting the redwood. Something like 400 miles of logging roads are being removed. It is now known as Redwood National and State Parks.
We’ve also seen our fair share of the Roosevelt Elk. At one time they were common across the United States. They were exterminated in the east. In California there were as few as 15 elk when they made a last stand in PrairieCreekRedwoodsState Park. We camped there for three nights and saw quite a few.
We also camped in Jedediah Smith Campground which was constructed in a grove of redwoods. We were parked among these giants and walked all of the trails around both of the campgrounds. We frequently ran into the Banana Slug. Its color is self explanatory. They have bears here (as well as mountain lions) and are quite strict about coolers, grills and food preparation. Every site has a bear box to store your food in. However, we weren’t luck enough to see one.
Now we move back up into Oregon to spend a few days with a college friend.
Among the Redwoods,
Chris and Melinda