Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of the Western United States

A Short Walk in the Woods

redwoods

If you are ever in the mood for a short stroll on easy ground in a dramatic location, consider going for a walk in a redwood forest. In California you will find these magnificent trees all along the coast from Monterey County to the Oregon border. There are even a few as far east as the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Many of the most beautiful groves are protected in national, state or regional parks. Most of the parks have very well developed trail systems. Plan to walk a mile or two and spend an hour or two - you will enjoy the outing and may even find something far more valuable - peace of mind.

redwoods

Superlatives abound when talking about these natural wonders - tallest, oldest, biggest, etc. All of the cold impersonal numbers are undoubtedly correct, but for me none of the hard statistics are of more than brief passing interest. The sheer beauty and absolute quiet of the forest is captivating of eye and calming of mind. On each occasion that I visit one of the major groves I fall in love with the trees all over again and conclude that this grove is the most beautiful that I have ever seen.

redwoods

I try to experience the trees during the week if at all possible when there are fewer visitors but anytime is a good time. The great mass of the forest swallows humans up easily and the enormous trees muffle sound effectively. Even in the most popular parks it is not hard to find a quiet corner where one can be alone with one's thoughts or where two people can share their time together. Somehow for me the trees help sort things out. In a very real way they epitomize patience and help me put my life into perspective.

redwoods

The pictures here are drawn from one such forest but are illustrative of many similar places throughout the state. This park at the far northern edge of the state is named after one of the most famous of all of the mountain men who explored the West in the nineteenth century. He mentioned the big trees in his journal and a nearby river is named after him. Few alive today know anything of this formidable individual who passed through these forests less than two centuries ago, but he was the first of our culture to do so. The Native Americans that lived in the area many millennia before his passage are, of course, almost completely obliterated from our memory.

Man's footprint on the earth is very transitory but these trees have persevered through fire and flood for thousands of years. They trace their lineage back before human beings stood upright and well before we developed the civilization that would ultimately destroy them.


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