The best walk in the woods this trip has been a trek through a redwoods park. On the East Coast, we certainly have an abundance of forests. But nothing like these magnificent trees.
How to spot a redwood? First, their bark is rather odd. It's ribbed, red, and far more deeply textured with grooves than a random East Coast tree.
Second, a redwood is extraordinarily tall. As in, lie-down-on-your-back-and-stare-up-in-amazement tall.
As in, too-tall-to-fit-an-entire-tree-in-one-photo tall.
The most amazing thing about redwoods, Janet and Peter told me, is how they survive through fires and all sorts of tough conditions. One has never been discovered to have died of old age, they told me. Lightning or disease will get them first. And they can live for hundreds of years. The one above is (if my memory serves) called The Giant.
Some of the trees have burls, knots of wood that formed when a scarred spot gains new growth. I think they give the tree character and are beautiful in a wise sort of way.
This tree had toppled yet managed to survive. It has a mossy coat.
Check out this huge burl. Oh, and another astonishing thing about redwoods — they keep growing despite fires and damage. One redwood (not pictured) had a small, dark opening by its trunk. Janet and Peter guided me in — once you crawl through the cave-like entrance, you can actually stand up inside the tree! I would have had no idea such a nifty internal room existed.
On the walk, we spied a banana slug — which truly looked like a baby banana. I was astonished. Apparently, banana slugs are also the mascot of U of California, Santa Cruz.
On the walk out of the park, past Roaring Camp, came the roaring of a locomotive. The train, spewing steam, chugged up carrying dozens of people. I can only imagine how much fun this place must be for a kid.