Photo Journal: the Tall Trees of Redwood National Park

Candice Gaukel Andrews August 27, 2015 27
In 1980, Redwood National Park, located along the Pacific Coast in northern California, was designated a World Heritage site. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

In 1980, Redwood National Park, located along the Pacific Coast in northern California, was designated a World Heritage site. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Some have always been drawn to the mountains, while others are called to ocean shores. But I constantly feel the pull of forests (I’ve even written a book about them).

My particular predilection causes me some mild embarrassment and social discomfort, because what could be more cliché for a baby boomer than being a “tree-hugger”? Those who prefer the peaks or the depths don’t seem to suffer from any such public judgments of banality.

Luckily, however, I can indulge my predisposition when I put on the guise of national park visitor, because our country’s protected areas safeguard some of our grandest and oldest trees. Redwood National and State Parks in northern California is such a place, home to some of the world’s tallest.

The colossal, old-growth, coastal trees in Redwood National Park, which was established in 1968 specifically to protect the redwoods, may take up to 400 years to mature. They can live to be 2,000 years old and grow to heights of more than 300 feet. Descendants of the giant evergreens that grew when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, these trees developed to thrive in moist, temperate regions. They now survive only in northern California and in Oregon.

Through the photos below, take a walk with me through Redwood State and National Parks. We’ll make a stop at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, where on August 27, 1969, President Richard Nixon dedicated the giants growing here to the former first lady, who was an environmental activist. A plaque in the grove reads:

“One of my most unforgettable memories of the past years is walking through the Redwoods last November—seeing the lovely shafts of light filtering through the trees so far above, feeling the majesty and silence of that forest, and watching a salmon rise in one of those swift streams—all our problems seemed to fall into perspective and I think every one of us walked out more serene and happier.” —Lady Bird Johnson, July 30, 1969

I agree with Mrs. Johnson. At the risk of sounding too hippyish, I know that I feel more peaceful and untroubled when I’m among the trees. After seeing the photos below, I hope you can “tune into some of that vibe,” too.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

Fog from the Pacific Ocean keeps the trees in Redwood National Park continually damp, even during summer droughts. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Fog from the Pacific Ocean keeps the trees in Redwood National Park continually damp, even during summer droughts. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

In 1994, Redwood National Park combined with Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks to create the Redwood National and State Parks. At almost 132,000 acres, the combined parks protect about 42 percent of all the remaining coastal redwoods. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

In 1994, Redwood National Park combined with Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks to create the Redwood National and State Parks. At almost 132,000 acres, the combined parks protect about 42 percent of all the remaining coastal redwoods. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Coastal redwoods are some of the tallest trees in the world. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Coastal redwoods are some of the tallest trees in the world. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Some coastal redwoods may be as old as 2,000 years and have base diameters as large as 22 feet. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Some coastal redwoods may be as old as 2,000 years and have base diameters as large as 22 feet. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Douglas firs, hemlocks, spruces and sword ferns create a multitiered understory. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Douglas firs, hemlocks, spruces and sword ferns create a multitiered understory. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

By monitoring the ferns on the forest floor in Redwood National Park, scientists are learning how climate change may be affecting redwood forest habitats. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

By monitoring the ferns on the forest floor in Redwood National Park, scientists are learning how climate change may be affecting redwood forest habitats. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Native peoples used fallen redwoods to build canoes and homes. However, during the Gold Rush era of the 1850s, commercial logging began. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Native peoples used fallen redwoods to build canoes and homes. However, during the Gold Rush in the 1850s, commercial logging began. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

The Lady Bird Johnson Grove was named in honor of the former first lady in recognition of her environmental and conservation efforts. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

The Lady Bird Johnson Grove was named in honor of the former first lady in recognition of her environmental and conservation efforts. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Because the Lady Bird Johnson Grove rests near the top of a ridge that is 1,000 feet above sea level, elevation brings moist conditions and extra rain. That causes the redwoods here to look less red than those found elsewhere on the coast. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Because the grove rests near the top of a ridge that is 1,000 feet above sea level, elevation brings moist conditions and extra rain. That causes the redwoods here to look less red than those found elsewhere on the coast. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

A footbridge invites you to explore the Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

A footbridge invites you to explore the Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

27 Comments »

  1. Pacing Milan September 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    These Giant Redwoods are awesome creation of God. Can we see one grow like them in our life time? Let us protect and preserve them well.

  2. Holly Ballard September 4, 2015 at 5:54 am - Reply

    I read all the above comments with interest. Obviously trees are very important to our human spirit. Thank you for sharing.

  3. John Ndiritu September 3, 2015 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Serene, beautiful and a must visit place!

  4. Tankiso Phidza September 3, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Stunning!!

  5. Joseph DiModica II September 3, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

    All Foresters feel a connection with Forests.

  6. Glen de Castro September 3, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

    I love going into forests. They somehow take you away from the world and force you to be more introspective.

  7. Bahiru September 2, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Dear friends, the tall trees are our intimate friends, without them our planet is meaningless. Without them our life is impossible to survive.Let us appreciate this wonderful gift of nature! .

  8. Nancy K. Hajjar September 1, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your Photo Journal: The Tall Trees of Redwood National Park! A very worthy cause, protecting our national parks for the future!!

  9. Irene Ssekyana September 1, 2015 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Very spectacular indeed. These are comparable to the giant spruce trees along the Oregon Coast…some i was told as old as 500 years old!!! and they are in a strictly conservation nature reserve, The Suislaw National Forest Reserve.

  10. Irene September 1, 2015 at 2:12 am - Reply

    Very spectacular indeed! These are comparable to those found along the Oregon coast.
    Some i witnessed i was told are as old as 500 years old!

  11. Victoria Marie Lees August 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Fascinating! We enjoyed camping with kids here. It’s a place you never forget. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Pierre van den Berg August 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Having been fortunate to work in a Nature Reserve [NR] and watershed [containing Fynbos and Afromontane forest] for many years, I took numerous photographs of the approx. 80 redwoods [Sequoia sempervirens] that were planted here in the early 1900’s. Yes, redwoods were planted at a handful of places in South Africa. You should come and see them, and I will be honoured to be your guide. The tallest one is now close to 60 metres in height. I realize this is small in comparison, but it attracts many visitors to the Grootvadersbosch NR, and it also motivated me to go and see the redwoods [S.giganteum] at Mariposa Grove in Yosemite for myself. Currently I live only 23 km from these “imported” and wonderful trees. Thanks again Candice for touching on a subject close to our hearts.
    kind regards
    Pierre van den Berg [South Africa]

  13. Greg Wolley August 31, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

    If feeling at peace among trees makes us hippies, there are still several billion hippies among us!

  14. Barbara Burkholder August 31, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pics. I lived in California for 11 years and will always remember the beautiful trees in Northern California. Truly breathtaking to walk along and view. Thanks for sharing. I too am a boomer tree hugger!

  15. Paul E. Stacey August 31, 2015 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Magnificent! I hope to see them someday, though some troubling climate change/drought effects have been suggested:
    https://www.savetheredwoods.org/blog/wonders/when-giant-sequoia-and-drought-dont-mix/
    and a couple of years back: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/giant_sequoias_face_looming_threat_from_shifting_climate/2631/

  16. David Le Maitre August 31, 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply

    I always find large trees impressive, whether they be the native Yellow wood trees in South Africa,,Eucalyptus regnans in Australia and many others. They remind me among others of how ephemeral we are.

  17. Thomas Sawyer August 30, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

    “We need the tonic of wildness…We can never have enough of nature.” – Walden

  18. Joseph DiModica II August 30, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Great trees! Love the Sequoia National Park too.

  19. Matt Holmes August 30, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Love Muir Woods, but don’t stop there. Those are about a 3rd as old and mostly half as tall as the ancient ones up north. Prairie Creek is the place to find them.

  20. M Ananth Baliga August 29, 2015 at 7:39 am - Reply

    I liked the para, “The colossal, old-growth, coastal trees in Redwood National Park, which was established in 1968 specifically to protect the redwoods, may take up to 400 years to mature. They can live to be 2,000 years old and grow to heights of more than 300 feet. Descendants of the giant evergreens that grew when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, these trees developed to thrive in moist, temperate regions. They now survive only in northern California and in Oregon.”
    The photographs are stunning.

  21. Larry Suiter August 28, 2015 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Having NEVER seen these beautiful magnificent works of nature,i am always amazed at their stature! I Iive inTennessee and love the history and photos! Thank You for your efforts!

  22. Ramakrishna Venkatasamy August 28, 2015 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Quite impressive Candice, once again depicting the power of nature and the beauty of natural settings.

    However, there is always the fear that the mining and extractive industries may find trees are of lesser importance than profit.

  23. Connie Werner Synclair August 28, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Time for a trek through Muir Woods.

  24. Anne Harrison August 28, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Yet another place for my bucket list. Beautiful photos.

  25. Thomas Sawyer August 28, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Simply incredible!

  26. Dan Tubbs August 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I love the Redwood forest. We are fortunate to live only a few miles from the great trees. The forest and the coastline make this area a great place for photographers. Your photographs are beautifully done. They show what a treasure the Redwoods are and why we need to protect them.

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