Friday, May 6, 2011

More Big Uns- The Gentle Giants

Cinco de Mayo - We celebrated with another FUN day on yet another GREEN DOT, roller coaster, narrow road. Today was only 80 miles - about 3 hours!*#! Magic is really getting a workout on this trip.

Here we go again!

One stop along the way was the “One Log House” - or as we say, “An older version of Magic - like before slide-outs!”. Seriously, this is one of the Redwood trees that has been hollowed out and made into an actual house. Just shows you how large around these things are.

You can't see them in the picture but the wheels are still attached beneath this "early RV".

Kitchen and bedroom.

Dining room/living room.

While at this stop, Gary also wrestled a bear for a VERY large ice cream cone -

Where'd ya get that ice cream cone??

Avenue of the Giants - a magnificent 31-mile scenic drive surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park which has the largest remaining stand of redwoods in the world.

Big sign for big trees.

Fossil records show redwoods originally grew naturally in many places across the Northern Hemisphere. But, due to climatic changes and other factors, Coast Redwoods now only grow naturally in a narrow 40 mile wide and 450 mile long coastal strip from southern Oregon to southern Monterey county in California. And, we are here!

John Steinbeck said it best -

“The redwoods once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always...from them comes silence and awe. The most irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect.”

The majesty of these ‘ancients’ does create an aura, or a spell, which makes one awestruck. Partially due to their size - but, there is just a ‘feeling’ that comes over one as you walk through them.

These Coast Redwoods have been referred to as “eternal” or “immortal” and, in fact, the scientific name - sempervirens - means “everliving”. Most Redwoods live for 500+ years, with some over 2,000 years. Unique adaptations, which contribute to their longevity, include:

*A network of shallow roots which extend radially for up to 100 feet interconnecting with other trees to hug the earth and hold the trees during windstorms.

*A thick, fibrous bark which protects the trees from fire and insects.

*Tannic acid throughout the tree act as a deterrent to insects and decomposition.

*The ability to sprout from root collar burl tissue located near the base of the tree often forming a cluster or ring of trees around the ‘parent’ tree all from a single root.

Unfortunately, the shallow root system also makes them subject to being blown over (the primary cause of ‘death’) - and when one falls it has a domino effect on surrounding trees. These fallen trees become ‘homes’ or ‘nurse logs’ for other plants. It may take 400 years or more to totally decay and become incorporated into the forest floor. During this time, a variety of shrubs and trees have the opportunity to develop part or all of their root systems within the decaying wood. It is in looking at the fallen trees that we really get a feel for how large they are! Even the smaller ones are larger in diameter than either of us - dwarfs even the car - and makes Gary look like an ant!

This one fell right along side the road. At least 7 feet in diameter.

Dwarfs our car!

Even Gary looks small next to this old guy.

A couple of hikes through the “Founders Grove” and the “Rockefeller Grove” brought us up close and personal with these giants! This large redwood is an old growth tree that has been through many fires - but, continues to live -

Believe it or not ... this one is still growing, fire and all.

The Dyerville Giant - This “Champion” Coast Redwood stood for as long as 1600 years! It was taller, larger and older than any other tree around it - a tree of another age. The Dyerville Giant fell on March 24, 1991. Before it fell it was at least 362 feet tall - as tall as Niagara Falls or the height of a 30 story building. It is 17 feet in diameter, 52 feet in circumference and probably weighs over 1 million pounds. As mentioned before, when these trees fall it is a domino effect. This was true for the Dyerville Giant - as it was the third tree to fall in a series of falling trees - and many more followed in its wake. When the tree fell, a park neighbor a mile away reported hearing a large crash and thought it was a train wreck! When you walk up to these fallen trees you are humbled.

Can you find Elizabeth? She is only about halfway down the length of the fallen Dyerville Giant .

Another wonder of these trees is the ability to survive floods - BIG floods. This area has had two major floods in the last 50 years, which has eliminated towns - but, not the trees. We were standing below this marker that indicated the water level in the 1964 flood - some 30 feet above us!

Holy moly!!! Keep following the arrows up the pole.

Still - the Giants survived and stand to awe us all!

Tiny road!

Big trees!!

Enjoy the beauty - E & G

PS - Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers sharing our travels with us;-)

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