A Trip to the Giants

While staying in Mendocino, my mom and I took a day trip up to see the redwood trees. The drive was upwards of two and a half hours, on incredibly winding roads through the rugged coastal hills and forests. After a while we exited the freeway onto the Avenue of the Giants- a slightly less winding road through the magnificent redwood forest of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, about an hour south of Eureka.

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The trees are huge. That’s a sufficient description.

You drive along the avenue and park at grove after grove, venturing into the forest to gaze up at them. I did so much gazing that my neck was sore the morning after we got back- seriously. You look up and it’s like the trees just keep going. The treetops (most of which are over 300 feet tall) are blocked by the leaves on the upper branches, and the trunks just seem endless.

The redwoods are big in other ways too- Founders’ Tree (in…wait for it…Founders’ Grove) has a height of 346 feet, with a circumference of 40 feet to boot. There’s also the Dyerville Giant- a massive tree that was almost 400 feet tall before it toppled in 1991- now it’s a massive tree carcass.

They’re big in that they make you feel so incredibly small- but not in a bad way.

They’re big in the sheer mass of living tissue that can be contained in one place. If trees were mammals, redwoods would be whales. They are just as majestic.

Interestingly enough, redwoods aren’t the biggest trees on earth. But those are still in California- in Sequoia National Park. Giant Sequoias- they’re actually a different type of redwood tree (shorter but fatter than their coastal cousins), so I guess super-sized stature runs in the family.

For me, these redwoods were big enough. Nothing we as humans build will ever be as impressive as those trees: of this I am wholeheartedly certain. It takes experience- and they’ve just been at it longer than we have.

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