Hiking the Redwoods

This entry is part 4 of 17 in the series GDB & Route 66

In an attempt to distract myself after returning Mindy, I used the next day to go over training homework and then I took myself hiking. And I made sure to find some sequoias, because we don’t have those at home.

two tiny lumberjacks beside enormous chestnut trees
the American Chestnut tree was typically enormous and grand

We used to have amazing trees in the Midwest, too. Accounts remain of nuts lying too thickly to reach through to the ground, and we have photos of trees with diameters of 12 and 15 feet. But we logged many of them before the lumbermen ever got to California. (The rest died when we imported non-native species, releasing the disastrous chestnut blight.)

Laura in hat before redwood bark, in selfie mode
My arm is just not long enough for a selfie with a redwood.

Midwestern conditions allowed our trees to reach incredible size in just a couple hundred years. The redwoods are much longer lived, though, a full four digits of years, which demands another level of respect.

So I drove into the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve and asked for a good afternoon hike. I forgot two things: I’m out of shape for an 1100′ climb. Even more, I’m presently accustomed to temperatures about sixty degrees lower than what I was hiking in. And I was stupidly dressed in long sleeves, like someone who thought it was March (in Indiana), and not of a quick-drying, cooling tech material.

About six miles later, my butt was well and truly kicked. But I enjoyed some lovely views and I came out at the end of my hike in the prime redwood viewing area, which was a perfect end.

Redwoods often grow in “fairy rings,” a circle of trees shooting up together from a single parent tree. With trees of this size and age, however, it really makes you wonder about the types of fairies involved. Something rather more potent than the fairies who dance among mushroom rings, wouldn’t you think?

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