As we approached this tree that you could drive through, a bit of a queue was forming as some complete muppet was trying to get a big Dodge Ram (that's a very large pickup) through the hole. He was pretty stuck & holding everyone up. Somehow, I think with quite a bit of panel compression, he eventually got out the other side & everyone else could stop laughing & drive through. Most amazingly, that tree with the big tunnel through it is still growing strongly - incredible trees.
Further north we dived off the 101 & took the much more scenic Avenue of the Giants (the old 101). There were plenty of opportunities to stop & wander around various groves of the Californian Redwoods - well, those groves that remain after extensive logging in the late 1800s & early 1900s. Having grown up near & spent so much time hiking & biking around the Redwood Grove in Rotorua, NZ, this was really special to see the originals in their natural environment so close to the coast. (The Rotorua ones were planted during the Great Depression, along with many other species, to see what grew well in the area. That grove is still doing well & a very pleasant place to stroll or ride - some of the best trailpark riding in NZ is close by.) Able to grow well over 100m tall & for a couple or three thousand years - these are definitely the tallest living things on earth. To see so many of them was just fantastic. As I mentioned before, they can still continue to grow well despite scarring, holes & hollows in the base of the trunk. It was a little weird standing in the center of the base of a still living hundred metre tall tree.
Needless to say we spend a lot of time wandering around with crooked necks & jaws dropped. It was so nice & cool down on the ground & quite dark too. With light poking through the canopy & my snapshot-only photo ability, it's rather difficult to get the proper impression of just how tall these trees are. But here's a few token pictures to satisfy those who can't abide all my words (not that such people are still reading).
|A fallen giant - as the wood decomposes so slowly, dead trees can stick around for hundreds of years providing shelter for all sorts of plants & animals.|
For some reason I'd decided on three nights in Eureka - which is not really all that big of a town. It had clouded over nicely by the time we arrived & the wind had picked up making it hardly attractive. Still we have a room & the historic downtown which I discovered this afternoon is quite nice (although with a strange lack of red, white & blue for the upcoming holiday weekend). Today we had a pretty lazy day, driving north to Redwood National & State Parks. I was feeling rather lethargic (I think excusable after two months on the road), so didn't go for a ride (it would have mostly ended up being on the road). We walked through a few more groves (the Lady Bird Johnson Grove was particularly good) & marvelled at the magnificient trees a bit more.
(Because these trees are so old & so weathered being near the coast, their bark is grey-brown. If you want to see red Redwoods - go to Rotorua.
|Taken for the meadow - not any Redwoods|