My particular predilection causes me some mild embarrassment and social discomfort, because what could be more cliché for a baby boomer than being a “tree-hugger”? Those who prefer the peaks or the depths don’t seem to suffer from any such public judgments of banality.
Luckily, however, I can indulge my predisposition when I put on the guise of national park visitor, because our country’s protected areas safeguard some of our grandest and oldest trees. Redwood National and State Parks in northern California is such a place, home to some of the world’s tallest.
The colossal, old-growth, coastal trees in Redwood National Park, which was established in 1968 specifically to protect the redwoods, may take up to 400 years to mature. They can live to be 2,000 years old and grow to heights of more than 300 feet. Descendants of the giant evergreens that grew when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, these trees developed to thrive in moist, temperate regions. They now survive only in northern California and in Oregon.
Through the photos below, take a walk with me through Redwood State and National Parks. We’ll make a stop at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, where on August 27, 1969, President Richard Nixon dedicated the giants growing here to the former first lady, who was an environmental activist. A plaque in the grove reads:
“One of my most unforgettable memories of the past years is walking through the Redwoods last November—seeing the lovely shafts of light filtering through the trees so far above, feeling the majesty and silence of that forest, and watching a salmon rise in one of those swift streams—all our problems seemed to fall into perspective and I think every one of us walked out more serene and happier.” —Lady Bird Johnson, July 30, 1969
I agree with Mrs. Johnson. At the risk of sounding too hippyish, I know that I feel more peaceful and untroubled when I’m among the trees. After seeing the photos below, I hope you can “tune into some of that vibe,” too.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,