Reaching for the Sky: California’s Redwoods… The National Park Series

A magnificent redwood on California’s North Coast reaches for the sky.

Ronald Reagan once commented about the Redwoods, “There is nothing beautiful about them. They are just a little taller than other trees.” He was serious. Why save a tree that has been around since 500 AD, stands 305 feet tall, and has a circumference of 61 feet when it can be used to build decks that will last for 30 years?

A view of the Redwoods canopy.

My wife Peggy provides perspective on the size of a giant redwood tree.

Reagan’s statement about the Redwoods is totally beyond my comprehension. Fortunately, thanks to groups like the Save the Redwoods League, we can still visit the rugged coast of Northern California and see these magnificent trees reaching for the sky.

Peggy and I were there last week along with our son Tony and his family. We scrambled to keep up with the grandkids as they rushed down the trails at the Big Tree Wayside. A yellow banana slug, school mascot to UC Santa Cruz, caught their attention and gave us a rest. Hollowed out trees served as perfect caves that demanded exploration. Other redwoods were obviously made for climbing.

The four-year old Connor demonstrates his tree climbing ability as he works his way up a redwood in pursuit of his dad Tony.

The two-year old Christopher is caught up by his mom Cammie for a photo-op while exploring a hollowed out redwood cave.

We were camping at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, which is one of several areas set aside as state and National Parks by California and the US Government to protect the forest giants. The area is famous for it’s Elk herds as well as the Redwoods and the scenic California North Coast.

At two and four, Chris and Connor may be a little young to remember the experience. But they will have photos. More importantly, they will be able to come back. Hopefully their children and grandchildren will as well.

The Peripatetic Bone hides out in the clover at Redwoods National Park.

Peggy shows just how large the clover in the Redwoods can grow.

A final view of the 1500 year old rightfully named ‘Big Tree’ in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

16 comments on “Reaching for the Sky: California’s Redwoods… The National Park Series

  1. Great blog post. Love it. I once heard that George W. Bush and his crew proposed selling off part or all of the National Parks for timber, in order to reduce the debt. I sometimes wish I had the power to sort through the gene pool…
    On our land, there are “stumps” which were thriving,ancient redwoods at one time. We just noticed, last week, the cut-outs, or rectangular notches, from when men inserted wooden planks to stand on and with saws on opposite sides, manually take down the giants. We have second growth around this and other giant stumps. If I ever sell, it’ll be with restrictions on the land.
    The stumps (hard to call them stumps, as they’re HUGE) also show evidence of fire. They still remain.

  2. Oh man, these photos are gorgeous!!! How could Mr. Reagan have not felt these trees spirits? When I was ten, we went there, and my dad parked the car and we were going to walk the trail, but I wanted to stay by myself near the car, and just BE with the forest. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. Then I felt bad because my mother was worried about them walking too far away from the car where I was all alone, so they didn’t get to really explore. I think I told them to just stay still and listen. It is silent voices.

    • Well said Zantippy… Wandering through the Redwoods is a spiritual experience. I lived in Africa for a while where they made offerings to the spirits that lived in the trees. Somewhere we lost that sense of sacred.John Muir captures it beautifully. As for Reagan, I doubt he ever spent any time in the woods. We should require it of our political leaders.

  3. That is one big clover! Ya gotz ta stop photo shopping your pics or else we’re gonna start believin’ ya! Lol. Fun story… but what’s a peri-whatchacallit bone?

    • Ah, you haven’t met the Peripatetic Bone. He’s a wanderer. A friend and I found him near Lake Tahoe in 1977 and he has been wandering the world ever since. Many people have travelled with Bone. He is now semi-retired. –Curt

  4. Pingback: One Hundred Thousand Thank-Yous… for One Hundred Thousand Views | Wandering through Time and Place

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