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Losing Yourself in the Redwoods

My daughter and I took advantage of a break in the rain to hike a redwood trail. We headed to Walker Road Redwoods — Jedediah Smith Redwoods Park in California. The day use park is located off of Highway 199 and Walker Road between Crescent City and Hiouchi. The Simpson Reed Trail is a 0.8-mile loop and the Peterson Memorial Trail is 0.3 miles. Both are scenic and easy trails to hike.

The trails host several interesting tree and root configurations, such as this tree with roots shooting off above ground to the right and the left. The root to the left shot out ten feet or so and then curved upward into a tall tree.

As we strolled under the trees' canopies, a light drizzle of moisture dripped from the overhead leaves.

Wild mushrooms sprouted throughout the park. Unfortunately we didn’t catch sight of any fairies who should have been flitting among them.

Since redwood trees can grow to over 300 feet tall and 20 feet or more in diameter, one would assume that their roots would go down hundreds of feet to anchor their massive size. They actually have a shallow root system that reaches only 10-12 feet into the ground. Their shallow roots intertwine with other redwoods and they support each other. How cool is that?

The redwood tree’s bark is thick and contains tannin. Tannin gives the trees their reddish color. It is also a natural flame retardant and protects the redwoods from disease. With the protection from fires and diseases, redwoods can live to be over 2,000 years old. Redwoods can even continue to thrive after an intense fire has burned through the bark and hollowed out a large portion of the tree. However, multiple fires pose the risk of weakening the tree to the point that it will fall.

Some trees have lumpy growths called burls that create interesting patterns. On Redwoods, the burls can grow quite large. Beautiful designs can also be observed in exposed tree roots.

As if the forest beauty was not enough to relax hikers, the gently running creek further relaxes hikers.

This tree seems to defy nature. I don’t know the type it is, but the main trunk grows horizontal across the trail, curving back into the ground. Each end of the tree has roots growing into the ground.

After completing both trails, we explored farther up Walker Road. We stumbled upon another trail. The trail had no signs. We believe it was Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trail. Without signage we were unsure if it would be a loop or the length of the trail. Since my daughter’s and my sense of direction added together equals zero, it was a little risky for us to embark on an unmarked trail, but we went for it. A few sections of the trail were slightly overgrown and we weren’t sure that we were still on the trail, but we trudged forward and then the path opened up. A redwood tree had fallen across the trail at one point. Rather than turn around, we scrambled over it. Luckily the trail did loop back to the beginning.

The trees were not as impressive on the unmarked trail, but the lack of signs, less traveled trails and obstacles made it more fun from an adventure viewpoint. If you wish to observe the majesty of God through the peace and beauty of nature, we thoroughly recommend all three of these trails.

Angela L Gold is the author of The Lion Within available on Amazon. Check out The Lion Within here. This is a paid link.

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