Sunday, October 5, 2014

In the Realm of the Superlative—Exploring Redwoods State and National Parks, California

The Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

            Our new world is mostly downward-facing, people continually checking their hand-held devices.  But here among the old-world giants everyone is looking up, their faces wearing expressions of wonder and awe. 
           Perhaps strolling among these titans causes visitors to speak in hushed, murmured tones.  Or maybe it’s the sheer mass of living plant material absorbing any noise.  Whatever it is, the human presence in an old-growth Redwood forest is not an intrusive one.

Tim snaps a photograph in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
(If you're having trouble spotting him, he's to the left of the
light-barked tree on the right.)

Waist-high Sword Ferns grow beneath the
Redwood canopy.

           In the 21st century we’re obsessed with bucket lists, with extreme sport, with triumphing over terrain when we set out for the wilds.  But there’s no speed-hiking here. People amble about these trails with the care and deliberation of meditating monks.
          Old-growth Redwood groves are places to slow down, to lose yourself in quiet contemplation and reflection.  Visit Redwoods State and National Parks in Northern California.  Look up.  Be amazed.

Red-tinted fallen needles carpet the
forest floor.

Walking alongside the trunk of a fallen Redwood.
Redwood trees always fall while they're still alive and
this tree, with it's furrowed red bark and several green
limbs still attached, looks as though it could
have fallen only yesterday.


  1. Both your photographs and your words captured my feeling that I'm in a sacred place when I walk among the redwoods. Wonderful post.

  2. "Sacred place" describes perfectly these glorious Redwood forests.
    Thanks for your kind words, Janet!

  3. When visiting a magnificent work of Nature such as this, there is a sensation that you've entered a special place which could be tantamount to sacred. It's difficult to comprehend the mindset of delinquents who do great damage by poaching the burls from these majestic old-growth redwoods. What a sacrilege!

    And last but certainly not least, this is another terrific posting, Rita. Your first photo is extraordinary, and sets the perfect tone for the remainder of your report.


  4. You're right, John. It's difficult to imagine the mindset of anyone who vandalizes, poaches and desecrates our sacred wild places. In the case of Redwoods fewer than 5% of the original old-growth forests remain. We owe it to these magnificent trees to protect them!

    That first photo is one of my new favorites.
    As always, thanks for your comments!

  5. This is truly magnificent Rita, those stately trees meditating like sitting buddhas, and that first picture is just Wow!

  6. I love the idea of equating the Redwoods to sitting Buddhas, Soumyendu! These stately beings do seem like portals to insight, wisdom and ultimate truth.
    And I agree—that first photo is definitely "Wow"! It captures the essence of being in the presence of these majestic trees.
    Thanks for your comments!

  7. Hi Rita,

    I'm so glad you and Tim had the chance to visit the redwoods in Northern California when you were out here! As others have commented, you brought back inspirational photographs. I find the last one pretty amazing, too - I thought you were walking along a small cliff face, but then I read the caption and was astounded it was a fallen tree. Just the fact that they don't "fit" within a photo gives you a sense of their enormity.

    Thank you for a lovely reminder of the serenity we can find in nature.

  8. Enormity is a great word that perfectly describes these giants.

    Walking along a fallen trunk that's the length of a football field—and as high as a cliff face—is truly humbling. If you want to feel small and insignificant (but in the best possible way) visit a Redwood Forest!

    Great to hear from you, Vicki!