Saturday, August 4, 2012
On our trip to Oregon and California we went far enough into California to see the Redwoods. Leaving the coast near the California and Oregon border, we headed inland, bypassing Crescent City and making our way to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Neither of us had seen the redwoods before and my wife had never been in California before, so these were two more firsts on what had already been a wonderful trip. We would very much like to see more of them, however.
Driving down to the State Park we were already among the redwoods and having never seen them before could not find words to describe them. Later at the State Park we spent the late afternoon and evening walking among the redwoods, awed by their huge size, their straight towering trunks, their beautiful proportions and the lovely understory of ferns that grew in their shadow. It is hard to describe them and we were unable to take pictures that did them justice, and can only say that one must see them to appreciate them and enjoy them as we did.
We learned that the Coast Redwood is taller but not as large in diameter or bulk as the Giant Sequoia. It can grow to 380 feet, live for 2000 years, has fire- and insect-resistant bark that is twelve inches thick, and has a cone about the size of a large olive. The park we visited is part of a complex of parks jointly administered by the state of California and the National Park Service that reaches for more than fifty miles down the California coast and provides a sanctuary for these amazing and wonderful trees.
After spending the night in a motel room near the park, an anniversary treat, we drove on up the Redwoods Highway the next morning, following the Smith River and enjoying the redwoods until finally we left them behind at the California-Oregon border. There, too, we found another turn-off with the sign, "Botanical Walk," and taking the sign as invitation we found another bog full of Cobra Lilies, these too finished blooming but with their distinctive insect-catching "leaves" in perfect condition. The mosquitoes there were bothersome but we spent some time taking more pictures before going on.