Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"From the Redwood Forests..."

Beaches in northern California are markedly different than the sandy, warm water places I'm accustomed to in North Carolina, those famously washed by the Gulf Stream waters (Woody Guthrie fans please take note to this last allusion). We headed up to Redwoods National Park yesterday, and after yet another beautiful drive, you crest a ridge to find this stretch of beach:

Barrie checking out the shore.

Beach vegetation.

At the end of the beach is the Redwoods National Park visitor center, where we got trail information and did the tourist thing for a while. A bit disconcerting were the warnings for "sneaker waves," large waves that suddenly emerge from deceptively calm surf and roar up on the beach. They've swept four people to their deaths in the area over the last few years. "Don't turn your back on the ocean," the signs warn.

After strolling on the beach for a while, we took a hike on the Trillium Falls Loop Trail, filled with old growth redwood trees. The best word I can muster for a walk among these giants is "humbling." The oldest of these trees are nearly 2000 years old, over 370 feet tall, and up to 22 feet in diameter. Here are some photos from that hike, with more to come when I get back home and have access to better photo editing software.

Barrie walking between two trees. Just for perspective.

This is a temperate rainforest, and the ground is moist and filled with ferns, groundcover, unfamiliar wildflowers, and huge, deep piles of redwood needles.

This tree trunk was head-high, and like nearly everything in the forest, covered with moisture and moss.
Looking uphill. Ferns abound.

Trillium Falls
More groundcover.