Thursday, October 9, 2014


OK, yeah, the redwoods are big.
I knew that. 

But until I saw them in person, was surrounded by the sweet scent of pine, and felt the crushing weight of the silence of the ages, I didn't realize just what it would be like to stand among them and feel so darn insignificant. 

We first drove through "new growth" forest as we entered California on 101. I felt like we were driving through a canyon with soaring walls on either side of us. Then, we took a drive through the Jedediah Smith State Park near Crescent City, where the road's path was dictated by the huge trees (which were far larger than those that had first impressed me along the highway.) As we drove south through the state, the trees grew larger. 

We spent a few days driving and walking through the forests of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This park has the largest stand of ancient forest, with some trees that are over 1500 years old! At the park's visitor center they have a cross section of a redwood, cut at 70 feet above the forest floor, with labels marking historic events. It certainly puts things in perspective. 

They figure the tree began growing around 900 AD.
The tag that is closest to the edge on the right is from 1928, when the California Park Service began. The tag directly below that, the third from the edge, marks the date of the Boston Tea Party. This tree saw a lot of history!

A few interesting facts about the Redwoods:

  • The cone for these massive giants is about the size of an olive. 
  • Trees can propagate from burls located at the roots or up in the branches. 
  • Large redwoods can withstand fire because the bark has very little resin in it. 

  • Redwoods have a lot of tannin in them, a substance that insects find distasteful. 
  • There are plants and animals that live their entire life in the canopy of the redwoods. 
  • The needles at the top of the trees are different than those found below the canopy because the intensity of the light is so different. 
  • Each Redwood requires a lot of moisture, from the roots and from the air. This coastal area of California receives 65 inches of rain a year! (Sure beats the 16 inches we hope to get annually!)
  • A large Redwood will give off 500 gallons of water into the air each day!


  1. Impressive trees for sure! I have never seen them but I would sure like to some day:)

    1. I hope you do get to see them. You would love taking a walk through them!

  2. Redwoods are amazing, and I'll never forget standing among them the first time. I felt closer to God there than in any magnificent cathedral. Safe travels, Dreaming!


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