Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Redwoods

Wed - Nov. 11th

We started about 10:30 this morning with the usual fog hanging in the valleys. We headed back to the Avenue of the Giants and to the Mattole Road through Rockefeller Forest in the north part of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. John said this road makes the Avenue of the Giants look like a super highway. The road was narrow, bumpy, winding and switchbacks up and down, up and down for about five hours (130 miles) minus the time we stopped to hike and gauk. This live tree is just an example of how damp it is in the forest. Moss and other green plants just grow everywhere.

Thank goodness for the park service's strategic
placement of the all important privy! The seasonal bridges across the Eel River had been removed to prevent them from being destroyed in the spring floods. So we walked across the river on a fallen log to see the Giant Tree and the Flat Iron Tree.

The Flat Iron Tree was a fallen tree that was kind
of oval-shaped like an iron, 17 and a half feet across one way and 7 and a half feet the other way. The Giant Tree was measured in 1991 at 363 feet
tall with a circumference of 53 feet and a 62 foot

We stopped to visit with a couple from Sweden. They had just flown in yesterday from San Francisco
to see the redwoods. They told us that there has recently been a discovery of the oldest tree in the world somewhere in Sweden. It is supposedly 12,000 years old. They are not telling anyone where it is, for fear of the public mobbing the place and harming the tree. This is the Tall Tree measured in 1957 at 360 feet with a 42 foot circumference and a 13.4 foot diameter.

This is a one lane bridge going into the small town of Honeydew. Sounds nice, doesn't it? I forgot to
mention that there are signs all over in the parks warning that there are bears. On seeing one of these John asked, "If a bear shows up, you're not expecting me to do the chivalrous thing are you?" Hmm. Not the first foolish assumption I ever made. I guess I'll wear good running shoes from now on.

From Honeydew we took Wilder Ridge Road down to Shelter Cove on the coast. This is part of King Range National Conservation Area. The light house had originally been 35 miles north, but was no longer being used, so they moved it down here to preserve it. We saw pinniped seals at Seal Rock here. They come in on the rocks to rest and hide from sharks and other predators. We saw a dog here carrying a starfish around in his mouth. There is a 27 mile hiking trail here along the Lost Coast.

Then we headed back to Garberville and south to Richardson Grove State Park for one more hike thru the redwoods where we learned a few more things. Redwoods can survive forest fires because they have such thick bark. It can burn off all the outer bark with no harm, as long as it doesn't burn the inner bark. It can also burn the heartwood or
center of the tree, leaving it hollowed out, as long as it doesn't burn the sapwood. The hollowed out parts
of the tree are called goose pens, because the pioneers used them to keep their animals in and sometimes even to live in.

The last two pictures are two parts of the same tree. There is a burl part way up on the main tree. These grow on redwoods to help them reproduce. Forest debris tends to collect on them, providing a perfect place for seedlings to get started. This tree happens
to have a very large, fullsized tree growing from it.
Burls can weigh up to 60 tons.

Heading south tomorrow to Mendicino County.

Over and Out,

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