Sunday, March 21, 2010

Avenue of the Giants

To drive this road we had to return south from where we came yesterday. This highway, State Route 254, parallels Highway 101. Part of it runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. In this park is the largest contiguous old growth redwood forest. Once we started driving down this beautiful tree-lined highway I told John that we had to stop  for pictures.I just felt we could go any further without capturing this scene.
 Along this thirty-two mile avenue of redwoods we did get out and hike in the forest. There is something very humbling and yet inspiring to stand next to a 346 foot tree. In my posting yesterday I mentioned the trees which grow out of the stump of the parent tree. Today we saw burl sprouts. That is how those trees start out of the older tree. Below is a picture of those saplings. Apparently most of them die off, only a few of the hardier ones grow into a tree. Sometimes a group of those young trees will grow in a circle around an open area. We saw examples of that phenomena which is called a fairy ring.
Redwoods are among the oldest living things- the oldest recorded redwood lived to be over 2,200 years. They have very few enemies. We saw redwoods which had survived fires, floods and winds over 100 miles per hour. Below is one with a goosepen in it, that is, a burned out hollow cavity. The early settlers found those hollows  served well  as cages for their chickens and hens.
You may have heard  of the Dyerville  Giant. That is a redwood which at its death was taller,larger, and older than any other tree around it. Very few of these ancient relics still remain. John is standing next to it in the picture below. Also notice the bark of this tree, it is very thick. That is characteristic of all redwoods.
We had an awesome day among the redwoods and I am thankful  that there have been people willing to pay for the preservation of these trees so they can remain protected within state and national parks.

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