June 18, 2008 – Eureka, California – The Avenue of the Giants – The Redwood Forest.
Today was water and giant trees. We traveled further up the coast consistantly turning to the left then the right, then the left and again to the right. A routine was quickly established as we saw Narrow Road signs and caution signs because you knew you were going to travel a bit inland, descending to sea level to then travel closer to the ocean as you climbed out of the cove or inlet back to the million dollar, forever etched in your memory views.
After many miles of seeing the Pacific Ocean from beaches to cliffs, we turned further inland. Part of our trip as to see the giant redwood trees, trees you can drive a car through! So from zero feet above sea level, we climbed over the California hills to fifteen-hundred feet above the ocean and then down again to a place president Roosevelt, by signature of his pen, designated as a preserve of 51,222 acres for these giants of time, height and beauty.
The drive we took is called The Avenue of the Giants and perfectly named. Here is an example of the massive structure of a redwood. One tree, called The Dyerville Giant fell in 1991. Before it fell it was certified as “Champion” by the American Forestry Association. March 24th of 1991 the champ came to rest on the floor of the redwood forest, it was measured at 370 feet in length (that is comparable to a 30 story building), which when standing placed it 200 feet higher than Niagara Falls. It was 17 feet in diameter and its estimated weight was over one million pounds.
We saw many examples of Champion’s younger siblings as we drove through the ever enchanted forest of redwood trees, ferns and flora. You could ever look to the sky, dwarfed by the redwood trees only to then look down and see the smallest flower growing in the shadow of the giant.
Many of these giant wooden sentinels were around when The Magna Carta was signed in 1411. These trees that tickle the clouds were growing tall when the United States of America became a nation. They were here when Christ was born as proven by the growth rings.
So it is more than fitting today we close with this poem we found etched in, what else, but redwood.
Here, sown by the Creator’s hand,
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand;
No other clime is honored so,
No other lands their glory know.
The greatest of Earth’s living forms,
Tall conquerors that laugh at storms,
Their challenge still unanswered ring,
Through fifty centuries of kings.
This is their temple vaulted high,
And here we pause with reverent eye,
With silent tongue and awe struck soul,
For here we sense life’s proper goal.
To be like these, straight, true and fine,
To make our world, like theirs, a shrine
Sink down, Oh, traveler, on your knees,
God stands before you in these trees.