Why I love redwood trees

Sequoia sempervirens. May it embrace many skies.

Sequoia sempervirens. May it embrace many skies.

Whether cool and breezy in mid-Autumn or hot and sticky in late Spring to mid-Summer, the heavy shade of The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is often welcome to hiker and mountain biker alike. That shade is largely due to the untold populations of redwood trees that dominate the area, though Bigleaf Maples also do their share to offer mercy from the sun.

While beautiful and stately, the redwoods in this forest are often no more than 100 years old. As one walks steadily up the former railroad grade that is Aptos Creek Trail, one can only imagine what this forest may have looked like in the mid-19th century. That was before these trees’ massive forebears were harvested for the burgeoning lumber needs of San Francisco, Santa Clara Valley, and other local coastal hamlets.

Fortunately there are still first-growth redwoods nearby at Henry Cowell and Big Basin Redwoods state parks. These are Nature’s living cathedrals, and they are destinations in which I lead hikes a few times every year.


Because those old matriarchs are worth seeing. Because everyone owes themselves a moment of Nature’s living grandeur. Because they’re there.

Because I love knowing that they’re there.

Though I might have the disposition for it, I don’t, however, hug redwood trees. That is, not unless I’ve got a set of fine tweezers and a lot of time to kill.

See related trip report: Nisene Marks State Park & Burrell School Vineyards.



8 thoughts on “Why I love redwood trees

  1. Pingback: Trip report: Nisene Marks State Park & Burrell School Vineyards | Winehiker Witiculture

  2. One of the things I dearly love about the Henry Cowell State Park is how you can be hiking through the redwood forest, take a turn up the hill, and next thing you know you’re in white sand dunes overlooking the Pacific. It’s one of those Wow! moments.

  3. Pingback: Thrilling Thursday Links | Winehiker Witiculture

  4. Thank you for your heartfelt homage to the redwoods! If we can find some hiking and wine experiences up here in Humboldt County, would you be interested? We actually have some wineries in the middle of the redwoods on or near the Avenue of the Giants. Let me know and I’ll send you more details. Also, where did you get that wonderful redwood photo used in your blog? If you took it, can I get permission to use it? Do you have a high resolution file of that photo? It’s one of the best redwood shots I’ve seen and they are very hard to take good photos of. Thanks, Tony from the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

  5. I’m having a “Wow” moment just reading your great comments, Jaya and Tony. Having sauntered the trails in both places, I am again transported — thanks for sharing!

    And Tony, I searched Yahoo! images for “redwood tree”, then surfed ’til I found the right image. It does not appear to be copyrighted. As to wines and wineries along the Avenue of the Giants, I’ll follow up with you — thanks!

  6. I love redwoods…I find them mystical, magical, soothing and beautiful…and I do sit amongst them, lean up against them and hug them, too!
    Maybe some day, I’ll get to some of these trails and locations you write about….yes, I do hope so!

  7. Kathy (@ Pocket Perspectives), it’s good of you to chime in. I wholeheartedly agree! When I’m communing with the giants, there’s a certain profound tranquility, a certain desire to be still. And of course I’ve hugged a few redwoods in my time – which may be why I’ve learned to keep my tweezers handy. ;^)

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