Sunday, January 29, 2012

Albino Redwood

I visited a Redwood Grove I've never been to before over the weekend, not expecting much, but being totally blown away again. The area is another Northern California gem, just a gorgeous, gorgeous place. "Wow" was the word of the day.
 Unfortunately, I'm going to leave out the name of the grove because I found an albino redwood growing there. Keeping with the spirit of secrecy that these rare trees have inspired amongst redwood enthusiasts, I'll have to remain quiet about its location.

 The picture above was a leaning giant. An incredible lean in fact. Standing behind it almost gave the sensation that a person could walk up the spine to the top.
  I spent most of the day measuring the circumferences of the larger trees in the grove. The two pictures above are taken from different angles of the same tree. 51 feet, 10.5 inches takes second place amongst the redwoods I have measured. Although this tree appeared to be two trees that had fused together at the base. They separated into different trees about 40 feet up or so.

 There was also a beautiful river flowing next to the grove. It was fascinating to be able to step out of the forest, onto the sunny river bank where the temperatures were much warmer, and then step back into the forest. It was like stepping through a portal into different worlds.
 How we protect and conserve these special, unique ecosystems was on my mind a lot again. Nothing in this world is protected forever. State Park closures in California are a testament to that. It is an ever present, ongoing struggle, and it is hard to feel like these last few old growth groves are safe.
 Late in the afternoon, I found the rare albino redwood that I mentioned earlier. (Just a hint, this one was in neither of the parks mentioned in the article.)  I had seen pictures online, so I knew what they looked like. I didn't realize how rare they actually were. This one also looked like a small bush growing or feeding at the base of a larger tree. Pretty cool. Of course, most of my pictures were really blurry, thanks to the late afternoon light (or lack thereof) in the forest.
Perhaps the best way to save these last few fantastic trees is to take it one generation at a time. Like a tough day at work, sometimes I try to get through an hour at a time. Before I know it, the day is done. 500 years seems like an eternity in human time. Most of the redwoods were cut down in three or four generations, counting a generation as 35 years. We are looking at 14 generations to bring back some of the old growth acreage, assuming that the trees can withstand the changes that may occur to their climate in that time. That's a long time to protect something. Hopefully, our kids, grand kids and great grand kids will want to do their part as well.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to post about this a few days ago, but, somehow, the comment appeared on MY blog instead of yours!

    I wrote that I was amused by the Wikipedia post on the albino redwood, because it answered the immediate questions I had when I heard about them from your post: 1. "I thought leaves are green because of chlorophyll?" and 2. "How can a tree photosynthesize without chlorophyll?"