An ode to big trees (in pictures)

Over the weekend, my husband and I escaped the heat of California’s central valley and headed to the northwest part of the state. Among the many beautiful sights of the weekend, we visited several big tree state and national parks.

Our first stop was Avenue of the Giants, though technically, it was more of a “go,” as we drove among a blur of huge trees lining the road.

Today’s post is an ode to big trees, mostly in pictures, with a few words added in here and there. I hope you enjoy the virtual journey, but even more, I hope the pictures inspire you to visit this stunning part of the country—whether for the first time or a return trip.

Driving along Avenue of the Giants

We visited Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Lady Bird Johnson Grove (part of Redwoods National Park), and Prairie Creek Redwoods.

Big trees in every direction in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Photographs cannot capture the sheer scale of these forests, but if you ever visit, prepare to feel very, very small.

Feeling small among the giants

Expect to spend most of your time gazing upward, too. (I think a visit to the redwoods is a perfect antidote to all the time we spend looking down at electronic devices.)

I stand inside an ancient redwood and gaze upward. (Photo by C. Squires)

Looking up along another hollowed out tree

A view from the inside looking out

Looking through trees and finding the promise of shelter in a storm

A mere suggestion remains of what once was a huge giant.

Impressive remnant whose core offers a view to the other side

Many of the trees have burls, and I learned that the burls contain cloned buds as a way for the original tree to live on if something happens to it. The burls themselves can weigh several tons. So imagine how much the full tree weighs! Some of the largest falling trees register as earthquakes.

The burls sparked my imagination, and I had fun figuring out what I saw in each one.

A monkey’s face in this burl?

A massive burl right at the base of its tree, a dragon curled atop its treasures

What do you see in this one?

Whether the trees are stretched out along the forest floor or soaring high overhead, they hold the power to amaze.

Redwoods rely on fog from the ocean to keep them well hydrated. One of our scenic overlook stops fogged in so quickly we could hardly see beyond the edge. But the fog rolling up to the tree tops brought a tranquility with it.

I’d love to hear from those of you who have experienced the big trees for yourselves. What did you love most about your visit? Which park(s) did you see? What’s your number one recommendation for someone planning a trip?

4 thoughts on “An ode to big trees (in pictures)

  1. Camping with these giant, magnificent trees is one of the most beautiful and cherished vacations that I have been so blessed to take. It’s indescribable to anyone who has not been here. Thank you so much for a wonderful visual trip down memory lane – I can smell the woodsy-rich, damp earth in my mind! = )

    • The smell was one of my favorite parts. The Japanese have an expression, shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” that promotes walks through the forest as a way to enhance both mental and physical health. I can believe it after spending time in these forests. I hope you get to return to these beautiful places again some day.

  2. “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.”
    This is part of the poem “TREES” by Joyce Kilmer.
    Barbara Latta

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