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From the Redwood Forests...

Updated on September 17, 2016
juneaukid profile image

Richard F. Fleck is an active hiker and leads Sierra Club "Hike and Write" treks in the foothills of the Rockies of Colorado and Wyoming.

Stout Grove
Stout Grove | Source
Lift up your hearts
Lift up your hearts | Source
Fallen Giant
Fallen Giant | Source
This Land is Your Land...
This Land is Your Land... | Source

Redwood Inspiration

After a few days of visiting the grand Oregon Coast and magnificent interior forests, we drove south toward Crescent City, California along route 199 in search of the Jedediah Smith Grove of Redwoods. At last we came to a park service headquarters ten miles outside of Crescent City to discover that all the redwood groves that are protected in state parks and Redwood National Park have been coordinated as one entity by the federal government.

We asked a park ranger where we could find the Jedediah Smith Park and he directed us eastward on route 199 by two miles to the Howland Ridge Drive and then to a dirt road turnoff into the Stout Grove of Jedediah Smith State Park. Soon we passed occasional giant trees rising skyward well over 150 feet.

Anxiously we drove into a parking space within the Stout Grove. The strong scent of a thickly vegetated undergrowth of sward ferns, mosses and many blossoms of wood rose and thimbleberries permeated the air as we took the loop trail into Stout Grove. Thanks to the tireless efforts of forest conservationists, this park was established in 1929 to protect these giant trees from the lumber industry forever.

These groves were named after the hunter and woodsman who was the first white man to explore interior northern California where he trapped such fur-bearing animals as black bears, mountain lions, beaver and river otters. Thankfully today this park not only preserves the redwoods but all of its animals including a rich variety of birds.

We rapidly approached the giant trees interspersed with Sitka spruce, cedars and Douglas firs. Maura, my wife, stopped to stare in wonder ever skyward where the tallest of trees rose well over 300 feet (the height of a thirty-story office building). She remarked that both here and in the John Muir Woods just north of San Francisco, these trees seemed to be a family, a great extended family. She couldn't help but feel the kinship.

While Stellar's jays squawked and chestnut-backed chickadees chirped in the deep woods, we approached a grandfather giant (perhaps 2,000 years old going back to the time of Christ). I decided to measure the tree by the number of paces it took to go around the tree. Want to guess? 60 feet is the answer! We kept our necks craned skyward, but surely our hearts went upward as well (Sursum corda). We came up to a fallen tree whose thickly barked trunk stretched out half the length of a football field! Its roots had been upended and exposed inside a pit perhaps ten feet deep. We had become Alice in wonderland, mere ants in an amazingly huge forest.

John Muir once remarked, "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools,--only Uncle Sam can do that." And thanks to his efforts and other conservationists of over a hundred years ago, we can enjoy them today and perhaps sing Woody Guthrie's song, "This Land is Your Land, this land is my land from the Redwood Forests...."

Redwood Forests

© 2014 Richard Francis Fleck


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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you, Audrey. You are lucky to leave close to the redwoods.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      I live not too far from here and this is one of my favorite places on earth--thank you for speaking so eloquently about it

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      It is hard to believe your eyes when you're in a redwood forest. Thanks Joseph Dickens.

    • JosephDickens profile image

      Joseph Chen 3 years ago from Houston, TX

      Redwood trees are awesome! Til now I can't believe that they can grow tall like that.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks rebeccamealey, I appreciate it.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you Dolores--the next time you're in San Francisco, go to the Muir Woods only 30 miles north across the Golden Gate Bridge.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge and photos of these great forest giants.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Richard - I enjoyed your trip through a redwood forest! One of these days I'd love to see them. I have visited California but did not manage to get up to see those magnificent trees in nature's cathedral.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you, Jamie. Yes the redwoods have an amazing magnetism.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      One of my mecca's, the redwoods, amazing how peaceful those giants stand. Glacier National Park, is my second choice. Thank you for this hub. Jamie

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you, Kim. They are a magical place.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      What a lovely presentation. You made me feel as if I was there, too. V+/Share for sure. Excellent writing!



    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you aviannovice--those trees help keep America as it was and will be.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beautifully written, and really shows how mighty nature really is.