We are very blessed here on the northern coast of California, not only because of the weather, which is often very nice, because we live so near forests of redwood trees. This summer, we have visited our local redwood grove a few times, enjoying the cool peacefulness and stillness of the trees. Of course, when I visit this quiet forest, I do bring a load of rowdy noise with me.
The tallest living trees on earth are California redwoods and they are also some of the oldest living things on earth. One of the trees in our local grove is about as tall as a football field is long and the oldest living tree there is about 1400 years old. It is truly awe-inspiring to be among such towering and ancient giants.
On our first visit to the park this summer, we received treasure hunt clues at the kiosk for the easy Pioneer Trail that is quite close to the entrance of the park. The kids loved searching for “The Dinosaurs”, “The Troll”, “The Sleeping Giant”, and “The Icicle Tree.” We also quietly listened for animals (and heard a few distant chirps), saw the large tree slice labeling the history of the world on its rings, walked on fallen tree trunks and finally, saw two gentle, soft brown deer!
Though I have grown up surrounded by redwoods for much of my life, I have never known all that much about them. Lately, I have been reading a bit more about them. I am fascinated by the fact that they get much of their moisture (especially in the summer) from our coastal fog, from which their leaves can absorb water. Also, coastal redwoods are well protected from insects and fire damage by their thick tannin rich bark. This means they can survive and live a long time. They grow shallow but extensive roots that can reach to 100 feet out from the tree. These roots tangle with other redwood tree roots and give groves strength and stability during harsh weather and winds. I love that they are stronger together- like a family!