Friday, April 25, 2014

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Rain, fog, and redwoods

Avenue of the Giants and rain

This young redwood has a great window for growth.
Water globule and trillium leaf
This redwood has an unusual trunk growing out of it's base creating a perfect spot for a fern garden.
Soft, morning light
"Humboldt Honey:" Tallest known maple in the U.S., discovered, named, and measured by Mario Vaden. It has a height of 157 feet, 8 in.
Along the Avenue of the Giants
Mounds and sorrel
Here's a few photos from this past week in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Landscape Amnesia, Arcata Community Forest, Caltrans, and Richardson Grove

At one time, a redwood Titan growing in Arcata. 50 feet up, the tree snapped in half which is probably why this "stump" was not harvested.
I've been thinking a lot these days about "landscape amnesia," a term I heard used not too long ago. Basically, it was used in reference to our forgetting about how landscapes once looked. How easy it is to pass through any spot in this country and simply believe that's how it's always appeared! Sometimes, I have trouble trying to imagine what the redwood forest of 200 years ago must have looked like, or which spots monstrous trees must have grown. At the same time, I'm still blown away by how many places in Humboldt Redwoods State Park are basically a sliver of old growth redwood forest growing along the Eel River, sometimes no more than a few hundred feet wide, the rest of the surrounding area logged.

The picture above was not taken in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It was taken in the Arcata Community Forest. It's a massive old redwood that grows way up on a hillside. The tree appears to have snapped in half many years ago, and is one of the few remaining monuments to the past majesty of the trees in this particular spot. I'd guess it was not worth the time and energy to harvest the remnants of this old titan, so it was left as is. The rest of the surrounding forest was logged however.

Places like Richardson Grove remain under serious, serious pressure by Caltrans to widen the road there. It's all about economics obviously. It's the same old story of driven individuals with more power than anyone one person or organization ought to have and who will ultimately see their plan realized one way or the other. If successful, it will be a gradual change. A few trees here, a few trees there. More cars and trucks here, more cars and trucks there. In a few years, most people will not even realize the changes made, amnesia will take it's course. Will the people, the American people, stand up to protect spots like Richardson Grove from any and all incursion? Only time will tell...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

"Girdled Tree"
Looking south along the windy Eel River
Highway 101 and redwoods

Old springboard still in tree
Poison oak and ticks are now protecting the woods
 Car killing potholes along Mattole Road
Red bellied newt
Sunset along the Avenue of the Giants
Green carpets of redwood sorrel.

Morning fog and a window in the forest revealing a glimpse of a tall redwood from top to bottom.

Poison Oak
A few photos from the past couple of weeks from various areas in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Redwood National Park

Redwood Creek
Tall, tall trees
Mature Redwoods can have several different looks to them


Redwood Creek. Summer was in the air...

Another large giant growing on a dry hillside. Very statuesque tree.
Drove up to Redwood National Park yesterday and did some hiking. I was able to identify a few more trees I've wondered about for some time. I really liked this particular area. It reminded me of Hendy Woods in Mendocino, a drier, warmer redwood grove. Eating lunch along Redwood Creek in the warm sun was a real treat. Once again, I can't imagine how majestic this entire area must have been pre-logging. I'm almost certain I saw a mountain lion near the Redwood Creek Giant. He walked off into the forest before I could really make a positive ID.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

A feast for the senses
Trillium Falls

Douglas Fir and fern
Pick any place in the park and you are bound to find titans looming in the forest
Drury Tree: 12th Largest Coast Redwood in the World. 275 feet tall diameter 20 feet, 8 in. Circumference 65 feet, 3 in. 30,103 cubic feet
One of the largest trees I've ever wrapped a tape around. I had a circumference at breast height of 70 feet, 1 in. I don't think it was accurate. Circumference most likely in mid to upper 60 feet range. Enormous, ancient looking tree. You can just make my head and backpack in lower left of trunk.
Drove up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park again over the weekend and covered a little more ground. It doesn't matter where you go here, there are gigantic trees to be found in any spot it seems. The trees look so much taller here for some reason, even though the data doesn't seem to suggest that. I'm not sure why that is. The trees along the Drury Parkway seem so much taller than the Avenue of the Giants. Perhaps the crowns are just more majestic or something. I've been getting a lot of headaches lately from straining my neck looking upward. Not sure what to do about that...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One of the World's Largest and Highest Albino Redwoods Currently Known

World's highest and possibly largest redwood albino

I've been talking with Zane Moore the last couple of weeks about redwood albinos. Zane is currently studying botany and albinism in redwoods and is doing great work learning, teaching, and understanding what is actually going on with these redwood anomalies. He is also leading the charge with arborist Tom Stapleton creating awareness and hopefully a successful campaign to save the rare Cotati albino redwood tree. Talking with Zane, my eyes have really been opened as far as where and how these albinos grow.

With his help, I was able to re-locate and photograph, and now share what may be the world's highest, and possibly largest redwood albino currently known to exist. It is growing over 200 feet off the ground and looks like a yellow fire ball from below. It is spectacular! For those of you who enjoy walking through the redwoods, keep your eyes peeled. There may be other albinos growing in the canopy, often white or yellowish.

Here is some more fascinating information about redwood albinos from Zane, a paper he has written called Redwood Albinism and Mosaicism. 

Hopefully there will be more exciting information and discoveries emerging from the forest on this particular front...