Hiking in Redwood Parks, Enjoying Coastal Rainforests

By Rachel Puryear

One of mine and my husband Kwame’s greatest motivations for being in better shape, is to facilitate traveling, and visiting places with lots of natural beauty.

Last weekend, we hiked through coastal redwood forests up in Redwood National and State Parks (near Eureka and Crescent City, in California).

View looking up at an old growth redwood tree.

These parks became protected land as a result of industrial-era conservation efforts, after most of the old-growth redwood forests in the area were logged. The old-growth redwood trees which remain today, thanks to those conservation efforts, are some of the tallest in the world – reaching majestic heights of 300+ feet! Above is a photo of the view looking up an old-growth redwood tree.

Kwame standing next to a redwood tree trunk.

For another perspective on the size of these trees, here’s a photo of Kwame standing next to the trunk of an old-growth redwood tree! He’s a strapping 6’2 but is dwarfed by just the trunk of this tree.

Kwame in front of redwood tree roots.

Here’s the roots of a tree, after the tree fell on its side. Redwood branches are only a few feet deep, but they extend outward much further, and interconnect with other trees. This helps them all grow and survive better together – so they are a lot like people.

Branch starting to fall off a tree, where the splitting area forms a heart shape.

I found the “heart” of the forest! 🙂

A view of crashing waves at Patrick’s Point.

From the rocky hill atop Patrick’s Point, you catch watch the waves crashing against the rocks. The coastal fog from the ocean provides about half the water for the redwood trees, and this has helped these trees become so tall and large over time.

Sun shining on the ocean at Patrick’s Point.

We watched the sun beginning to set on Patrick’s Point.

Tree branches forming at arch in the forest.

The trees make forest walks nice and shady, even during the middle of the day.

Creek in the forest.

Peaceful creeks also run through the forests.

A land divider between the ocean and the bay.

In this view, a strip of land divides the ocean and the bay. The ocean side is active with waves, while the bay side is still and serene.

View of Little Bald Hills from an open meadow.

From this open meadow, there is a clear view of Little Bald Hills. You can see where the new growth redwood trees are coming in, growing back after this area was logged decades ago.

Kwame with new growth redwood trees in the background.

The new growth redwood trees are coming in again after logging. Of course, they are only decades old, whereas the old growth trees were centuries old – so the new growth trees are much shorter and skinnier still than the old growth trees were. But they will get taller and fill out more with time.

Rachel at the visitor’s center.
Rachel and Kwame at the visitor’s center.
Rachel and Kwame unmasked at the visitor’s center.

And here we are at the Thomas Kuchel visitor’s center. You don’t realize it when you pull up, but there’s an awesome ocean view out back from it!

Hope you enjoyed these photos, my friends, and that these inspire you to visit this awesome place. It’s not super crowded, it’s got pretty temperate weather year round, and there are inexpensive places to stay which are not too far from the park.

Happy long weekend! xo

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