Sunday, May 20, 2012

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

 I spent the weekend in Humboldt Redwoods State Park again, to do some more redwood exploring. It was just about one month to the day that I was here last. Once again, some excellent trees were found, and I tried to savor each moment in this superb forest.

 I spent most of yesterday afternoon looking for some of the biggest trees in this particular area. I still find it amazing that on a beautiful sunny weekend, I pretty much have the forest to myself. My eyes are pretty much trained now to spot trees with a cbh of 40 or higher. These are the grandparents of the forest.

 I tend to get the late afternoon blues, whenever or wherever I am hiking. Yesterday was no different, as I wrestled with my mind about whether or not to spend the night. The comforts of home were calling. However, once I got in my car, the thought popped in my head, how many times will you get the chance to sleep under the redwoods? I found a secret spot to park the car, grabbed my backpack and set up a stealth camp. So far, this has always been the better decision.
 It occurred to me, before the sun went down, that it was going to be another dark night. Was it the new moon again? Sure enough, it was the day before the new moon. The forest was going to be pitch black. Frogs kept me company throughout the night. Several would join into chorus for a minute or two and then stop for fifteen minutes or so before starting up again. Just before falling asleep, I heard what sounded like two loud gunshots. I bolted awake to hear the crashing sound of what I think was probably a very large branch falling out of a nearby redwood.
 Thankfully, I was exhausted enough to sleep much better last night than last time. When I awoke, there was no fog, and I grabbed my sleeping bag and pad and found a great spot to stare up into the canopy as the morning sun rays entered the forest. Other than a few whistles from birds, one of the blessings of an old redwood forest is the absence of noise. It was so quiet and wonderful.
After breaking camp, I stopped by one of my favorite sections of forest to commune a bit. I'm in awe of this particular place, the trees are cathedral like. Later in the morning I stopped by the touristy "Giant Tree." This tree is 363 feet tall and with a cbh of 53 feet, 2 in., it is the biggest tree in the park as far as I can tell. Unfortunately, many people have chosen to carve their names and initials into the old beast. It's a good thing that those in the know, keep all the recent tree discoveries secret. I concluded the trip with an excellent breakfast burrito at one of the small cafes in town along the Avenue of the Giants. Can't wait to come back and visit again.


  1. I can only imagine being able to spend the night in a forest like that one. I would worry about the widow-makers, though.

    We're planning on visiting California next year. Yosemite, for sure, but I'd like to see some other groves of big trees.

  2. HemlockMan, it's an unforgettable experience. I worry about the widow makers as well, although with these trees, you can be guaranteed an instant burial as well! If you visit the redwoods, send me a message and I'll try to point you in areas that I have found exceptional.

  3. Hi Mark, I'm planning on visiting the redwoods this coming weekend. Will go to humbolt redwoods sp, any recommendations on best trails to get deep into the forest and good camping ? would love to see some serious giants, ones folks haven't carved and disrespected. my email is, would love to hear from you, Ive taken a lot of inspiration reading about your wilderness journeys. thank you for sharing so much.