Hello Friends and Family,

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Part 1

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

When I lived in the Bay Area, one of my favorite places to visit — either by myself or with out-of-town guests was Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. The attractions here are the coastal redwoods, AKA Sequoia sempervirens. According to Wikipedia, "This species includes the tallest living trees on Earth, reaching up to 379 feet (115.5 m) in height (without the roots) and up to 29.2 feet (8.9 m) in diameter at breast height (dbh)." They are also among the oldest living things on Earth. Note that that the tallest redwoods are taller than the Statue of Liberty and its pedestal.

To educate the visitor to the age of these trees, the park has mounted a slice of the trunk of a redwood tree that was cut down in 1936. As most of you know, trees lay down a ring annually and the park service has added labels with important dates from the life of this tree.

The labels show the rings associated with the birth (sprouting) of this tree in 544 AD as well as those for the birth of Mohammed and the height of the Mayan Civilization.

Labels on the outer rings note events that are closer in time to our personal knowledge of the world. It is interesting to note that this tree was cut down before all but a small percentage of us were born — certainly before I was born and I'm an old guy.

The redwoods are tall — quoting the height does not equal the impression that one experiences when seeing these trees in person. You look up and they seem to climb forever.

Coastal Redwoods have a survival strategy that has served them well for eons of time. At the base, they sprout small "children" that do not grow very rapidly until the parent tree dies. The children then begin their real lifetime arranged in a circle which marks the extent of the deceased parent. This results in what are called "fairy rings" or "family circles" — a circle of mature trees whose pattern is unmistakable.

Along the trail is a redwood that fell in 1983 — needless to say, it is huge.

Here is that same fallen tree from a different vantage point so you can see the underside of the base and the hollow center.

I seem to recall that moss grows on the north side of trees. I guess ferns do too.

Here is another "fairy ring" whose constituent trees are all quite old and quite large. Impressive.

Looking straight up, the sight is incredible. You can also understand why so many of these trees were harvested commercially — straight trunks containing plenty of wood. I'm so glad that conservation efforts allowed us to keep a few pockets such as here at the first California state park and also Muir Woods in Marin County north of San Francisco just above the Golden Gate (which connects San Francis Bay to the Pacific Ocean).

I saw this cute couple standing on one of the fallen redwoods and the scene begged for a photo. They seemed to be delighted for me to take it.

Further along I heard, then spotted a forest stream that further enhanced the feeling of peaceful relaxation of the beautiful place.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com