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Redwoods: Really Big Trees!

For years I have wanted to see the big redwood trees of coastal California. Last month I was able to fulfill my dream, along with two of my sons.This massive redwood is known as the Founders Tree and is 346.1 feet tall and 40 feet in circumference.Coastal redwoods often grow in big groves, where their root systems, while only about 10 feet deep, extend outward from the trunks up to 50 feet, intertwining with the roots of other redwoods to provide mutual support and strength to withstand powerful storms. The groves with the largest redwoods are along the Avenue of the Giants in northern California, and that is where we headed.

We took a precarious, twisting two-lane route through the mountains to get there. My oldest son, the best of backseat drivers, kept up a steady stream of statements such as, "Imagine if you had a wreck here; it would take hours to get you out," and "If you went off the road here, no one would find you for days," and other similar encouraging words. My other son, who was driving, gripped the steering wheel and did not say much.

It was worth it all, and we would do it again.

Redwood trees are the largest trees on the planet, growing to 300' tall with a diameter of 24'. Actually, there are three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods. Sequoiadendron giganteum is also known as Giant Sequoia, Giant Redwood and Wellingtonia. Sequoia sempervirens, which is what we sawin general is a little taller and more narrow than the Giant Sequoia. It is also called Coastal Redwood and grows along the Pacific coast, whereas the Giant Sequoia grows more inland. Metasequoia glyptostrobides is known as the Dawn Redwood. It was thought to be extinct until it was discovered growing in China in 1944. Cuttings and seedlings have been sent throughout the world, and now they are found growing in North America, Asia, and Europe. Aldridge Gardens in my central Alabama area has a nice specimen. Dawn redwoods are large trees but not nearly as massive as other redwoods. They are also notable in that they are deciduous, with orange fall foliage.

Massive redwoods like the ones we witnessed along the Avenue of the Giants are truly awesome and are a national treasure. Such trees are excellent anti-pollutants, removing three times the harmful carbons from the air than other types of trees. They have very thick bark that is resistant to fire, insects, disease and rot. They can live to 2000 to 3000 years, though the usual life span is 500 to 700 years.How old was this redwood before it fell? And how many years will it feed the forest as it slowly rots away?Even much younger trees are a sight, as they will grow 100 feet in their first 50 years.This ring of "young" redwoods was outside the cabin we rented.

View from inside the ring of redwoods.

We came to the Drury-Chaney Grove toward the end of the day. We were transported to an ancient realm, a primeval paradise of stunning beauty. We were sorry we discovered it so late in the afternoon, as we did not have time for anything but a short hike.

Scenes from inside the Drury-Chaney Grove:


We are already planning to go back next year to see what we missed.

You may also enjoy my previous post : About Trees

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Reader Comments (11)

Isn't this area magical! The air is rarified. One feels rather insignificant standing there taking in the atmosphere.

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLisa at Greenbow

Awesome redwoods! Loved the backseat driver comments.

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeter/Outlaw

Being in the redwood forest is overwhelming in all of the best ways! Last time i was there I got happily "lost" multiple times on various tracks.
But the Giant Sequoia a different genus, Sequoiadendron giganteum.

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie B.

Hi Natalie, thanks for the heads up on The Giant Sequoia! There are three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, one of which is the Giant Sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum. My post originally had this listed as Sequoia giganteum, so I have corrected my post to reflect the correct botanical name. Best wishes! Deb

October 16, 2018 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Wonderful photos, Deb! California's magnificent redwoods do put the place of humans in perspective. I'm glad you got a chance to visit (and that no fires were burning in the vicinity).

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Nice! They are spectacular, aren't they? It's been a while since I've been out there--time for a return trip. Magical treasures! Great photos!

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

I had to laugh with the son who was gripping the steering wheel as the other son blathered on about having an accident on the lonesome mountain road. I rather imagined him gripping the wheel and staring bug-eyed through the windshield thinking, "Bro, you are NOT helping." Wonderful photos. Would like to see the redwoods myself.

Wow, those trees are magnificent! I bet you all had a wonderful time in such a wonderful place. Us humans pale into insignificence against such amazing giants.

October 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Magical sure is the best description. They certainly live long, I wonder if they ever get bored.
Thank you for leaving a comment on my post I am not able to approve it at the moment as I am unable to get into my dashboard. Some technical issue with plugins and Wordpress with its new editing tool not being compatible. I have been trying to resolve this for over a week now, reluctantly I will have to get hold of a developer. Let me know when you are next going to California, I will send you some earplugs.

October 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Redwoods are amazing ! Got to see them one time north of San Francisco maybe 15 years ago...will never forget. You have some wonderful captures. Bet you had a great time .

October 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatsi

Wow, amazing!

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

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