Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Big trees and little trees

Suddenly the end of the earth popped up as we travelled West, and there are huge trees. Seems everything is or was related to lumbering here.

Fort Bragg was built in the mid 1800's to control the local native peoples, while the coast was heavily logged. There are quite a few state parks along here. We stayed at MacKerricher and Van Damme state parks, which came from family estates based on the early timber industry.

Just south of Fort Bragg is Van Damme SP; it is at the mouth of a small river, so it has a beach and trails up into the river canyon and up to a pigmy forest. I think this was our favorite in this area, for having the great trails and beach. Alice found lots of shiny abalone shell bits here.

There are redwoods that are very big, but mostly there are stumps from old growth or a ring of trees where the original huge trees were.

We stayed for two nights and explored the trails. Biking up the trails to the pygmy forest was hard work, and educational. At least the ride back a different way on paved roads was all downhill. It was uphill to get there, because the land is terraced by the combination of erosion by the sea, and uplift along the San Andreas fault. The drainage from the flat terraces prevents any new organic soil from washing in, the rain leaches out any minerals,

We spent a few more days along the coast on route 1, and then the road goes back east and to the Humboldt Redwoods state park. Here there are still groves of old growth redwoods. I could speculate that these were just a little harder to get to, compared to those closer to the coasts. So they were still around in the teens and twenties, when people got concerned enough to buy up and preserve some old growth areas.

The truck fit through, but we didn't have enough momentum for the bikes and trailer to squeeze in.

Some of the campgrounds were closed this early, but we found a spot at Burlington campground. It has some trails and a good visitor center. Driving on the Avenue of the Giants scenic road, avoiding the big 101 freeway, there are also plenty of good hikes if you stop at all the auto tour signs.

Another fun thing to watch as you drive along the road; the trees close to the road tend to have notches and divets 8 to 10 feet up, about the height of campers whizzing past. No notches on our account though....


  1. So impressive these giant forests. Actually there are more up at the Olympic Peninsula,WA and even on Vancouver Island,Canada.

  2. It's amazing how much wood is in a single tree. We're going a little more North, at least into Oregon, then we'll start east

  3. It's amazing how much wood is in a single tree. We're going a little more North, at least into Oregon, then we'll start east


What do you think, where should we go next?