Redwood Forest California
Oct 2, 2008
|Today we are entering Arnold Land. Beautiful California and the Redwood Forest. Our destination is Klamath on the Klamath River, right in the Redwoods.
If you think you have seen tall trees, think again unless you have been in the Redwoods. No cathedral in the world vaults 30-plus stories high, as the redwoods do, and no amount of ornate carving or stained glass windows can outdo a redwood forest for the flamboyance of the rhododendrons, ferns, creeping oxalis, mosses, and other greenery decorating its floor.
Just when you think you've seen the biggest tree you've ever laid eyes upon, an even bigger specimen will appear around the corner. Redwood is a member of the pine family, Sequoia semper-virens, is the tallest tree in the Americas, attaining a height of 350 ft (107 m) and a diameter of 27 ft (8.2 m). Its present range is limited to a strip along the Pacific Coast, extending from southwest Oregon to south of San Francisco. The leaves are evergreen, sharply pointed, small, disposed in two vertical rows on short branches, and scalelike on the main stem. The cones are egg-shaped. The bark is a dull red-brown, on old trees sometimes 1 ft (0.3 m) thick, densely fibrous, and highly resistant to fire. The tree gets its common name from the color of the bark as well as that of the heartwood.
The wood holds paint well and is used for bridge timbers, tanks, flumes, silos, posts, shingles, paneling, doors, caskets, furniture, siding, and many other building purposes. See also Pinales; Pine.
California has restricted roads for RV's 40 feet or over so we had to map our tour very carefully. Driving through the redwoods on 101 was kind of challenging. The trees literally stand directly on the side of the road. If you are not careful it's easy to rip off a side mirror or scratch the side of the coach. Luckily, or I should rather say through experience, my wife made it without incidence. We parked at Klamath River campground and did our tours from here.
On the first day, we went to the Trees of Mystery. It is a great tour for experienced hikers or you can go with the Sky Trail used by lazy people like us. Some of the tallest trees of the world are right here. I could write a page about this but I urge you to go to the following website for more info. http://www.treesofmystery.net/
Unfortunately, trees are very difficult to photograph but I tried to do my best.
The next day, we did a driving tour with our Jeep which I will probably remember for the rest of my life because it was so impressive. We went to Jedediah Smith Redwoods Statepark.
The park is named after the intrepid explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith who was the first white man to explore the interior of northern California. His journey through the coast redwood belt was part of a remarkable two-year trapping expedition which began in 1826. Smith pioneered a trail southwest from the Great Salt Lake across the Mojave Desert through the San Bernadino Mountains into California.
Discovery of gold along the Sacramento and Trinity Rivers in the mid-1800’s drew many thousands to northern California. The need for a supply route to remote mining camps initiated a spurt of exploration that motivated settlement of Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
Conifers other than redwoods include western hemlock, Sitka spruce, grand and Douglas fir, as well as the less common Port Orford cedar. Primary examples of the understory include tanoak, madrone, red alder, big leaf and vine maple, and California bay. Ground cover is dense with a wide range of species and varieties of shrubs, bushes, flowers, ferns, mosses and lichens common to the coast redwood environment.
Wildlife of the park is both abundant and varied including such animals as black bear, deer, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, skunks, fox, beaver, river otter, squirrels, chipmunks and many others. Some of the rare or uncommon examples of bird life identified include the bald eagle, spotted owl, pileated woodpecker and marbled murrelet. The Smith River and Mill Creek are especially known for the king salmon and steelhead trout runs in the fall and winter. Mill Creek is a spawning ground for these fish.
We drove about 30 mls to get there but the actual drive through the park and the trees was about 6 mls. Doesn't sound much but its a gravel road and you can only go about 3 mls. an hours. The pictures will tell the story.
Nest day we just relaxed before we continued south. Also, I had to pack and mail out an Espresso Machine I sold on ebay. While this sounds easy, nothing is easy in the Redwoods. Finding a post office was a challenge by itself. But we managed that, too.