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.