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June 29, 2017

Traveling the Redwood Highway

by Steve Winogradsky

"I think that I shall never see /  A poem lovely as a tree."

Joyce Kilmer was right!

After leaving Monterey, we spent two days on the 101 traveling up the California Coast north of San Francisco along The Redwood Highway and The Avenue of the Giants. After spending the night in Garberville (which had a surprisingly good Cajun restaurant), we took the roads through the forest.

The Redwood Highway, the 350 mile long northernmost segment of the 101, begins at the Golden Gate and passes through the world's tallest and most extensive preserve of virgin, old growth coastal redwood trees. It's easy to understand why it's billed as The Avenue of the Giants.
We found groves of enormous trees, some of which were thousands of years old, 30 feet in circumference and up to 350 feet high. These remain untouched by humans and protected from logging due to early preservation efforts by numerous groups and aided by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated over two million dollars back in the 1920s.

It is hard to adequately describe the awe inspired by standing next to these massive trees. I'm over six feet tall, so this picture should give you some idea of how I compare in size.
Who's the little guy?
Even when they fall due to lightning strikes, storms, or just old age, sometimes piling up on each other, their massive trunks dwarf everything else around them.

In some places, they are so tall, and the foliage so thick, the tops of these trees cannot be seen from the ground.

In Myers Flat, there is an attraction where you can drive a car through the trunk of one of these trees. Given the size of some cars, especially SUV's, getting through requires a certain amount of skill (and folding in your mirrors). It's a great spot for photos. Rosemary did it twice, once with my "assistance" and once by herself.
A tight squeeze, but she made it!

As their name suggests, some of these forests are very close to the coast. After another stop in Eureka, we could see the ocean from the highway and were able to get some photos of the coastline and the fog rolling in during the morning.
A foggy day...
 In some places, the level of the land is so low, they have signs warning about tsunamis.
Head for the hills!
Other parts of the road follow the Eel River, named for the way it twists and turns through the forest, not for any eels actually in the river.

Because of bears in this area, there are very strict rules about how to handle trash, with bear-proof trash cans throughout the area.

Sometime we take these natural wonders for granted, but it is clear that global warming is having a negative effect on this part of the biosphere. We're glad we got to see these beautiful areas and encourage you to also see them before it becomes too late.



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1 comment >>

  1. Looks like a lot of fun, love the Redwoods ! Cheers !

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