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Moving north I entered another sanctuary of old growth redwood groves: Smith grove in Jedediah Smith Redwood National Park. After running into nice people on the road, up from the Humbolt Redwoods, I settled into the main campground there: by a river, a fair number of RVs, separate hiker/biker camping spots too. Walking around, the campsites are filled with trillium flowers blossoming up in their trifold white glory. Glancing up through the trees after dinner I spot the crescent moon just breaking through the clouds in the low western sky.
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Morning wanderings by the clean clean waters of the Smith River. Some time with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Gumption trap discussions. Then a friendly comes over and we drive up over the Smith River (and some wonderful rock cliffs flanking its sides) onto Howland Hill Road for a stop at Smith Grove. There we wander slowly and enjoy the giants. Many carpets of Wood Sorrel, but few Trilliums in the moister area down in the grove. Large downed log highways, little rays of sunshine, burned out goose pens and their relics standing as stalagmites of the open air. Nice to have company to bring scale to these giants, and we enjoy taking pictures – some for each other. Then back up the road, recalling fern names and wishing to spend many nights wandering those forests along the road. But North, a return to Portland beckons.
At last, into the magnificent giant redwoods of Humbolt State Park. I don’t know when I first wanted to visit these ancient trees, but it has been a long time. When I took few trips to California and Oregon when I was younger I thought they would be the first stop. Now, the tournament over and family behind, I hitched up highway 1 and 101 from San Fransisco to see em.
I found Founder’s grove to have the more magnificent trees, as they are in a lower and wetter area, but Rockefeller Grove was also impressive and nice. Next time through I want to do a longer hike or an overnight!
The redwoods are amazing trees, in the way that they grow. Although they reach over 350 feet into they air their roots only go down 4-12 feet. Though they do also extend for a good distance laterally and intertwine with the roots of neighboring giants. The roots can even grow and fuse together. When damaged sempervierens will send up new shoots, these emerge from the root burl and will form a little ring around the original trunk. This is how ‘fiery rings’ occur – when the original tree is damaged and dies, but a ring of clones come up around the original trunk. Some of the shoots I saw coming up were so thick, forming an impenetrable hedge of sorts. A fallen redwood can remain more or less intact for several hundred years and sustain just as much if not more diverse forms of life as it decays than during it’s days as a standing giant. More fallen logs to come in Jedediah Smith. I am sure there are other trees with interesting growth habits, but I definitely recommend looking into and reading up on the coast redwoods.
The images I posted earlier from the Giant Illumination post are also from Humbolt State Park.