Today we woke up early to get to the Reedwoods in time. Even if we had seen the Sequioas and the Redwoods futher south the coastal Redwoods here were so different. They belong to the same family as the Redwoods in Kings Canyon and the Sequioas but they are an entirely different species. These are the world's tallest trees. They are so impressive!
The park is open day and night all days of the year and there is no fee as you enter. The Kuchel visitor center opened at 9 am and we stepped in at exactly nine. There is one part of the park that you need to obtain a permit for which is the Tall Trees Grove. They only let in a maximum of 50 cars here and the permits are first come first server. However, right now it is still low season so I don't thin they hand out all permits in early spring as now.
Compared to the Gigant Sequoias the Coastal Redwoods are much higher. These Redwoods become about 116 meteres tall (the Sequioas about 90 meters). The Sequioas become older (3,200 years) as the Redwoods only turn 2,000 years. Lastly the Sequioas are much thicker when it comes to the base of the tree trunk beeing almost twice as thick as the Coastal Redwoods.
Lady Bird Johnson was the nickname of the First Lady. She was honored of her recognition of preserving places as these and caring about preserving natures beauty in general. I love the way she has described how it feels to be in this particular grove surrounded by the tallest trees in the world:
One of my most unforgettable memories of the past years is walking through the Redwoods last november-seeing the lovely shafts of light filtering through the trees so far above, feeling the majesty and the silence of that forest and watching a salmon rise in one of those swift streams - all our problems seemed to fall into perspective and I think every one of us walked out more serene and happier.
These trees are the living link to the age of dinosaurs and it sure feels like you have stepped back both in time and into a dinosaur forest. The tall slender stems of the Redwoods, the misty fog and the gigantic ferns. It is hard to describe the beauty and the total fascination that you feel over how small you seem and how big and tall everything else around you is.
The Coastal Redwoods need the fog for survival. During the warm summer days they use the water from the fog to pick up water. Their roots are very shallow but cover great areas instead. They try to link their roots to other trees and sort of hold on in that way. These Redwoods can become up to 2,000 years old and have an average life span of 500 to 700 years. They ranger at the visitor center told us that their age is the main reason why they are able to become this tall. You look up, your eyes following the bark up to the tree top and you can barely see the top up there. Another factor that makes them become so old is also is that they have no known killing diseases and do not suffer significant insect damage.
I love the solitude of the northern Pacific Coast. The grand splendor of nature. It is so beautiful here.
To give you a picture of how tiny you feel as you walk around here here are some pictures I took of C as we were hiking the Tall Tree Grove hike. The trail is all downhill to get to the grove taking about 30 minutes to get there and then it is all uphill going back which takes you about 45 mintues. It has been raining pretty much lately in this area so the trail was pretty wet and muddy.
Actually they had to close of the main scenic road through the park today as there had been several trees that had fallen across the road. We only got to see the southern most part of the park but were very satisfied with the amazing views and hikes that we made today. This is a park that you do experience best if you do a few hikes. That is the best way to see these very impressive Redwoods.
There are also a number of Elks in the park. We spotted these as they were crossing the road right in front of us. They are very easily seen on the medows. We saw so many of them out there. At first I got confused and mixed up Elks with Moose, but this is what the Elks look like, like a small deer.
As we left the park we had quite a long drive in front of us. We drove all the way from Orick to Sacramento in one go. It took us about 6.5 hours. We are now in the capital of California and tomorrow we plan to head out into the former Gold mining regions and small towns.
Once more I feel so lucky being able to see and experience all this and all other things we have on our former travels. There are just so many beautiful places out there in the world. The Redwood National Park is one of the coolest and most beautiful places I have visited.