Redwoods National Park, Home to the World's Tallest Trees!

In September, 2002, I visited Redwoods National Park after seeing Lake Tahoe and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

I was driving north on California 101 until I come over this small hill and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life! I immediately pulled off the road to the right to get a photo. There was a sign there that said "No Parking" but I took the chance and got the photo. It was very moving for me coming from south Florida.

Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the First Time!
Pacific Ocean, Redwoods National Park

I finally come to Redwoods National Park and pull over to get a photo. Pulling back out onto the road I felt just how rough the ground was on my rental car. I could have used an SUV here. Also, free admission into Redwoods National Park! I always like that.

Redwoods National Park
Redwoods National Park

I stopped to see the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. I donated $5 since I didn't have to pay an entrance fee to the Redwoods National Park. They gave me a map and information so I felt the donation was the least I could do. I always like to support our parks! Notice behind me they started to cut down this tree. That would have been very sad had they succeeded!

Joe in Front of Redwood Tree
Joe in Front of Redwood Tree, Redwoods National Park

This wooden bridge led me over the road into the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The walking trail loop is about one mile long. Gorgeous trees here!

Wooden Bridge into Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Wooden Bridge into Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwoods National Park

Huge Redwood trees! Some are three hundred feet high and more.

Huge Redwood trees!
Huge Redwood trees!, Redwoods National Park

This Redwood had its center burned out and yet it still lives! These Redwood trees are highly fire resistant.

Burned Out Center of Redwood Tree
Burned Out Center of Redwood Tree, Redwoods National Park

These Redwood trees are just awesome! In this narrow zone where sea meets land, sandy beaches, steep slopes, cold fog shrouded days, and salt laden winds conspire against plants. Only the toughest survive. To an ongoing bout with the parks' harshest environment, their wind pruned shapes and stunted size bear witness.

Only the Toughest Survive
Tough Redwoods, Redwoods National Park

The two dominant trees of the old growth redwood forest are the Douglas fir and coast redwood. The species associated with redwood groves varies according to whether an area is close to the ocean, along a flood plain, streamside, or upland.

Top of Redwood Tree
Top of Redwood Tree, Redwoods National Park

The scrub communities, dune, and beach provide the coast redwood with a buffer from the harsh coastal climate; salt laden wind and salt spray injure redwoods.

Joe in Front of Big Tree
Joe in Front of Big Tree, Redwoods National Park

With many trees exceeding 100 meters (300 feet) in height, the alluvial flats and protected valleys found along creeks and streams provide ideal growing conditions for the coast redwood. Other trees include hardwoods such as red alder, laurel or California bay, big leaf maple, madrone, and tanoak. The most common members of redwoods' understory are redwood sorrel and Sword fern, and are accompanied by other shrubs, azalea, salal, huckleberry, and rhododendron.

Awesome Redwood Trees!
Awesome Redwood Trees!, Redwoods National Park

Redwood growth is limited by water stress, on windy, dry ridges and slopes. Trees here, may reach an average height of 61 meters (200 feet) or less.

Giant Redwood!
Giant Redwood!, Redwoods National Park

Redwood seedling establishment is limited by drier, hotter conditions, and the redwood forest gives way to a mixed evergreen forest, further inland, and at higher elevations. Dry forest species include Jeffrey pine, canyon live oak, chinquapin, California bay, madrone, tanoak, and Douglas fir.

Joe Standing Inside Burned Out Redwood Tree
Joe Standing Inside Burned-Out Redwood Tree, Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National Park - Growth Factors

A mystery is why the redwoods grow so tall? Proof remains elusive but theories continue to develop. The trees regularly reach 600 years of age and can reach ages of 2,000 years.

Built in features of a coast redwood are resistance to natural enemies such as fire and insects. Thanks to the high tannin content of the wood, insect damage is insignificant, and diseases are virtually unknown. Providing protection from all but the hottest fires, foliage that rests high above the ground and thick bark.

Burned Out Redwood Tree
Burned Out Redwood Tree, Redwoods National Park

Also, as a species, the redwoods' unusual ability to regenerate aids in their survival. As many other trees must, they do not rely solely upon sexual reproduction. New sprouts may come directly from a downed tree's root system or a stump as a clone. Knotty, hard growths that form from dormant seedlings on a living tree - basal burls - can sprout a new tree when the main trunk is damaged by toppling, cutting, or fire.

Fall Colors on Parkway
Fall Colors on Parkway, Redwoods National Park

Its own biotic community (In any natural environment of only one species cannot exist by themselves. It is always a group of population that live together in the same area.) is the most important environmental influence upon the coast redwood. The complex soils on the forest floor contribute to a verdant array of other trees, fungi, greenery, and also to the redwoods' growth.

A healthy redwood forest usually includes other trees, madrones, tanoaks, western hemlocks, and massive Douglas firs. Mushrooms and mosses help to regenerate the soils, among the leafy redwood sorrels and ferns. Where they can be returned to the soil, the redwoods themselves eventually fall to the floor.

Roosevelt elk
Roosevelt elk, Redwoods National Park

The trees rely on each other, dead and living for their vital nutrients, because the more than one hundred inches of annual rainfall leaves the soil with few nutrients, the coast redwood environment recycles naturally. When logging occurs, the natural recycling is interrupted, because the trees need to decay naturally to fully participate in this cycle.

Redwoods National Park - Fern Canyon

I remember driving this old road and then driving across a stream to get to Fern Canyon. These were the directions the Redwoods National Park ranger gave me on how to get there. I had asked earlier about the best place to hike and this is where they told me to go. They told me I would come to a stream and to just drive through it fast and I would be alright. I did as I was told and I made it across just fine. When I got to the canyon and began to hike, I came across this couple from San Francisco and they became my unofficial tour guides.

Couple from San Francisco in Fern Canyon
Couple from San Francisco in Fern Canyon, Redwoods National Park

Nothing compares to Fern Canyon full of ferns and with its 30 foot walls dripping wet. I was told by the couple that this is where they filmed "Jurassic Park 2".

Fern Canyon
Fern Canyon, Redwoods National Park

We came to these fallen trees and the couple wanted me to climb up on the trees for a photo. It was not easy! The nice thing about this canyon is it is very green and feels cool.

Joe on Trees in Fern Canyon
Joe on Trees in Fern Canyon, Redwoods National Park

Later in the day and after the hike through Fern Canyon, I came upon a "Roosevelt elk" alongside the road and I had to stop and get one last photo.

Another Roosevelt elk
Another Roosevelt elk, Redwoods National Park

At the end of the day I drove north to about 30 miles south of the Oregon border and got a motel room. I thought about driving north the next day and crossing the border just to say that I was in Oregon. I decided not to do this and I later came back and saw both Oregon and Washington states in a separate trip.

A funny thing happened while I was at this motel. I was very tired and tried to go to sleep, and all of a sudden I hear this loud horn sound going off! I call the front desk to see what's going on and a woman tells me that because we're so close to the water that we hear the Fog horns that help ships and boats find their way to shore. Well, since I'm from Florida, this is a new experience for me. I was fortunate that I was very tired and fell right to sleep. What a great day!

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