Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Feeling Small Among Giants

There was no way we were going to leave the California coast without seeing the magnificent coastal redwoods.  These giants can soar to heights over 350 feet and reach ancient status exceeding two thousand years.  Coastal redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet and humble us little people in their presence.

"One day I will be tall"
It is amazing that these strong and towering trees start from meek beginnings germinating from a cone no bigger than the size of a quarter.  We were lucky that the redwoods are protected via California State Parks system and not solely under the National Park Service, because this allowed us access to these beauties even during the government shutdown.  (We were a little inconvenienced when the bathroom was closed at our spectacular beachside picnic location, but oh well.)  So we set out to see as much of the jointly managed Redwoods Nationaland State Parks in the two days we had.  This park is home to the tallest and largest stands of old growth redwoods in the world. 

We took a scenic drive and found ourselves in this natural cathedral where little light filters through the canopy and ferns dominate the ground.  It did not take long for us to feel “small.”

A quick hike around Stout Grove convinced us that man’s appreciation for natural things instills a sense of wonder and appreciation which often leads to protection.  Early acts of preservation date back to 1918 when the Save-the-Redwoods League was formed.  The state of California created three parks in 1927 to protect the redwoods but the demand for lumber during World War II and the subsequent construction boom highlighted the need for more avenues of protection.  While California created more state parks, it was not until 1968 that Redwood National Park was formed.  The National Park became an added buffer for the old growth stands in the state parks and through a cooperative management agreement in 1994 the Redwoods National and State Park was brought to fruition to most effectively preserve the trees.

One of the most famous stretches of redwood groves is along the “Avenue of the Giants.”  Gee, what an appropriate name for trees standing hundreds of feet tall.  This 31-mile stretch of HWY 101 is a truly scenic drive that left us in awe.  The avenue bisects Humbolt Redwoods StatePark which is dedicated to protecting over 51,000 acres of virgin redwood groves.  We stopped at Founders Grove for a look at the Founders Tree and many other surrounding trees that represent old growth redwoods.  Having taken plenty of forestry classes in college, I know it is rare to be in a forest that has never been cut.  But it is even more spectacular when you are among living trees that were alive when the dinosaurs roamed.  

More pictures from a place we spent too short of time.

Note the little black dog trying to be tall in the land of giants.  Good try little dog.
Talk about feeling small in the land of giants.
Amazingly, these trees have no tap root.  Their roots only penetrate 10 to 13 feet deep but may spread out up to 60 to 80 feet.
Crescent Beach - not a bad place for a picnic and to play in the surf.


  1. I'm glad you got to see the redwoods despite the shut down. I got lost on a trail among them once many years ago.

  2. Beautiful and amazing! Love the picture of Spirit:). Adding this park to my bucket list for next time we are in California.

  3. I love the redwoods - so glad you got to spend some time with them. Your pictures do show the scale - hard to accomplish.

  4. We just left that area south of Crescent City a few weeks ago. It was the first time we had ever seen the giant coastal redwoods. Truly a magnificent sight!

  5. We had to pass on seeing the redwoods in 2012 because of an upcoming birth of a granddaughter. We love the new baby but have been itching to see the redwoods ever since. Your post did nothing to alleviate that itch. ;c)


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