Avenue of the Giants

I just got back from my first trip to the West Coast.  My husband and I spent a week traveling through California, Nevada, and Arizona, seeing the sights.  My next several posts will be a recap of what I found, what I saw, and what inspired me on our trip.  My mind unwound on this trip.  Completely.  The thought of home and daily life and responsibilities seemed so far away.  It was a good break.  Tiring (we drove about 1,300 miles and took a short flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas), but good.

One of our first stops was the Redwood Forest in Humboldt County, California.  Specifically, we took the scenic route known as the Avenue of the Giants.  It runs parallel to Highway 101, and doesn’t add much time to your trip.  If you are ever out that way, I highly recommend this small detour.

Because. . .

Walking through these trees reminds you of where dreams are made.  Every children’s story involving a fairy, or an elf, or a talking woodland creature — it seems like they could never have been imagined anywhere but here:

Looking up, up, up....
Looking up, up, up….

Pictures, of course, cannot do them justice, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t try:

There I am, holding it up....
There I am, holding it up….

The trees don’t have much in the way of roots.  They are mostly held up by balancing their limbs and growing them in a specific way to ensure they remain balanced (smart trees — must be working considering some of them are 2,000 years old):

A recently fallen tree, even without massive roots, created a small pond where it stood.
A recently fallen tree, even without massive roots, created a small pond where it stood.

I can’t imagine what kind of natural force it would take to force one of these babies over.  I mean, I don’t even think hurricane-force winds could do it.  Soil erosion and the tree’s own inherent weaknesses seem like they could be the only thing… and if one is coming down and you happen to be in the way, all you can do is pray, and/or run:

Or maybe make like a turtle....
Or maybe make like a turtle….

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and one of the main reasons we wanted to head for Northern California.  Most of the scenery (aside from the Redwoods) reminded me a lot of home in West Virginia — they had cows, canyons, and much more land than urban sprawl. It’s a gorgeous landscape that you can’t find anywhere else on Earth– what could be better than that?

Have you ever visited a place that you instantly felt seemed unreal?  Where was it?  What was your experience?