August 25 – California’s Coastal Humboldt Redwoods

While preparing to get on the road this morning, we noticed what we thought to be a really large redwood stump. Around 9:00 AM, we left Klamath under overcast skies and cool temperatures.  Twenty minutes later, we stopped for a tourist must-do. Too narrow for either our motor home or Jeep

As interesting was an even larger redwood cross section Estimated birth in 1377 and 10’3” in diameter

and an emu enclosure located across the street. Boy, can they run fast!We also passed between four of the eight Golden Bears which, since 1925 have graced various locations around Klamath.Our drive took us through a number of small towns (populations typically 100-300 individuals), some farm country,past a turquoise-colored river,besides estuaries of the Pacific ocean,and through a couple of “real” cities such as Eureka, where clever signageand architecturally interesting buildings

helped the time stopping at a seemingly endless succession of stop lights pass more quickly.

Driving briefly through the Del Norte Coastal Redwoods State Park and then spending time in the Humboldt Redwoods of Northern California, despite having visited both the Muir Redwoods north of San Francisco and Sequoia National Park … we were simply overwhelmed by the sizes of the trees in these ancient or old-growth forests.

Despite reviewing more than 100 photos we took, there is no way to visually convey what we were privileged to see today!  Our route took us the entire length of the Avenue of the Giants which runs through the heart of the Humboldt Coastal Redwoods.

Our motor home is over11’ tall

Our Jeep is dwarfed by these trees

Which literally border the narrow two lane road

“Big Tree” (304’ tall – 21½’ in diameter – 68’ in circumference – estimated age of 1,500 years)

“Giant Tree” (363’ tall and 53’ in circumference)

Colorful stump a mere 8’ in diameter

Enormous 17’ diameter stump from a 370′ fallen redwood

Many with chimney-like trunks, although still very much alive

While others you can literally see through

And, looking up … which still fails to give you a sense of the towering height of these magnificent trees.This family of trees began its evolution some 145 million years ago, during the Jurassic period when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Today, they include the Coastal Redwoods (which life primarily in central California and southern Oregon coasts – grow to 370’ with diameters up to22’ and can live some 2,000 years), Giant Sequoias ( which are found on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California – grow to 311’ with diameters of more than 40’ and can live to a ripe old age of 3,000 years) and the more modest Dawn Redwoods (which are wide spread … we had on in our front yard in Yardley … can grow to 140’ with diameters of up to6’ and have an indeterminate life span).

The redwood’s root system contains no water-seeking tap root but, rather relies on a network of short, stubby roots only about 6’ deep which are supplied by wormlike root-filaments which can extend out as much as 100’.  Over its lifetime there trees require some 1,000 tons of water for each ton of weight; and some of these trees are estimated to weigh up to 1,000,000 pounds!

Before leaving to go back to our motor home, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center with its interesting displays.  Among them was what might have been the first motor home, built by Charles Kellogg in 1917, as part of his life-long effort to demonstrate that the redwoods deserved to be saved and preserved.   It consisted of a 22′ long by 11′ diameter log from a fallen tree mounted on a Nash Quad and was complete with a sink, bed, table and living quarters.Enroute back to our campground, we did some more of the mandatory tourist things …

We made it but had to fold in our side mirrors

and saw a genuine and unfailing Weather Rock A dry rock means fair weather

A wet rock means rainy weather

A dusty rock means a dust storm

A swaying rock means it is windy

A shadow under the rock means it is sunny

A white rick means it is snowing

A rock under water means there is a flood

And

A bouncing rock means an earthquake is in progress

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