Redwood National Park, California – Three ancient relatives

In California’s very north four more parks are united into the Redwood National and State Parks. Many view points, passable forest paths, and hiking trails invite to activities. We restrict our outing program a bit due to the pouring rain. The ranger in the park’s visitor center is happy though: “We are really excited, it is the first rain since five weeks.”

And the winter is the rainy season. This is what the rainforest needs and what enables their incredible height increment – up to a foot / 30 cm per year. During the dry summers they gain moisture from the coastal fogs. Beside humans they hardly have enemies. Tannin and other poisons in the bark prevent fungus infestation. The up to one foot / 30 cm thick bark makes insects’ penetration nearly impossible, and the therein stored water makes the tree hardy against forest fires. Only wind can fell them.

There are two more redwood species that both live in separate limited habitats. The sequoia in the western Sierra Nevada grows with 311 ft / 95 m not as high as its relative, but is with up to 40 ft / 12 m diameter the most massive tree in the world. It can become more than 3000 years old. We do not know too much about the dawn redwood. It is much smaller that the other two species, has deciduous leaves, and it was considered to be extinct since millions of years. A forester discovered a remaining stock in China in the 40s.

There is a beautiful walk through an old redwood population called Lady Bird Johnson Grove at the Bald Hills Road. More old trees can be found at the Drury Scenic Parkway, which parallels hwy # 101 for several miles. The Coastal Drive isn’t too exiting but allows nice views to the sea.

The insurance of the pick-up driver who brushed against our cabin in Death Valley NP calls me today and shows itself obliging. They will cover the damage and need photos as well as an estimate. Good news!

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