While in Eureka on the California coast we ran the heat in the mornings and evenings and usually wore a jacket. We left Eureka and headed inland. Remember when we talked about how chilly it was on the Oregon coast but if we had moved just an hour inland we would have been too hot? We followed U. S. Highway 101 south as it curved inland away from the coast. Our destination was Redcrest to spend several days seeing the majestic redwood trees. When we were outside preparing to leave Eureka we had on jackets. By the time we moved inland and reached Redcrest it was 88 degrees. Whew! What a difference. Time to switch from heat to AC. (Yes, we know our family and friends in Florida are laughing at our complaining about 88 degrees!)
We were last here in May, 2014 and pulled into the same RV park as before in tiny Redcrest, pop 112. It is a nice park but has absolutely no Verizon service.
We spent our time driving along a road called “The Avenue of the Giants“ and hiked several trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California’s third largest park and containing Rockefeller Forest, the world’s largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods.
Our first hike was on the Greig-French-Bell Trail. This trail is located in the fog prone northern edge of the park and therefore has a lush ground cover. This particular area is so visually striking it is often used as the setting for movies and TV commercials.
We hiked for well over an hour along the many meandering paths along the trail. Of the trails we hiked it was the least well marked and most overgrown. This was also a great time of year to visit the park since none of the trails were crowded. This is the very end of their tourist season.
One highlight was the Dyerville Giant, a redwood that once stood here for as long as 1,600 years. At the time it was taller, larger and older than any other tree around it. It was 370 feet tall which is two feet taller than Niagara Falls, was seventeen feet in diameter, fifty-two feet in circumference and weighed over one million pounds. When it fell in 1991 it registered on the seismograph and the locals said it sounded like a train wreck.
Our final trail was the Rockefeller Loop Trail. This forest grove is dark and very dense. It had started to lightly rain while we were walking on this trail and we hardly felt any raindrops thanks to the redwoods being our natural umbrellas.
- Due to climate change and other factors, Coast Redwoods now only grow naturally in a narrow 40 miles wide and 450 mile long strip from southern Oregon to southern Monterey County in California.
- Initially, J.D. Rockefeller did not want the forest named after his family, he donated millions of dollars to save these trees. Until 1951 it was known as the Bull Creek-Dyerville Forest.
- Redwoods are so immense they live simultaneously in three climatic zones. The base, the stem and the crown are in three separate zones.
- Redwoods need great amounts of moisture. This area of California has 65 inches per year average rainfall plus moisture from summer fog.
- A very large redwood can release up to 500 gallons of water into the air each day. The redwoods are being affected by the ongoing California drought.
- It may take 400 years or more for a decaying tree to become integrated into the forest floor.
- Redwood roots grow only a few feet down into the soil but can grow laterally a hundred feet or more. Their roots can intertwine, helping each other stand up.
- Redwoods live a long time because they have few enemies. They have a thick fire resistant bark and lack resin.
- The scientific name for Coast Redwood is Sequoia sempervirens which means “ever living”.