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A reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s books of wonder and discovery in Middle-earth. Hopefully this is a discovery too. It is my feeble attempt to replace your trip West. A Hobbit’s TaleThere and Back Again

Redwoods : 

Redwoods Sierra redwood trees are the largest trees in the world. Many sierra redwoods are between 250 and 300 feet tall, the tallest being about 325 feet high. While their height is impressive, the real wonder of a sierra redwood lies in its bulk. Many of these giants have diameters in excess of 30 feet near the ground, with a corresponding circumference of over 94 feet! The largest redwood in Calaveras Big Trees State Park is the Louis Agassiz tree. It is located in the South Grove. This tree is "only" 250 feet tall, but it is over 25 feet in diameter six feet above the ground! The largest tree in the North Grove is probably the Empire State Tree, which is 18 feet in diameter six feet above the ground. The largest tree in the world is the General Grant tree, located in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park It stands 271 feet tall and is 28 feet in diameter at six feet above the ground.Most trees have their diameter measured at breast height, which is considered to be four and a half feet above the ground on the uphill side of the tree. Sierra redwoods however, are measured at six feet above the ground. This is because of the major increase in circumference at the lower end of the tree. This "butt swell" helps the redwood in a couple ways. It adds stability to the tree, just as a wide stance adds stability to a football player. Also, it helps deflect falling vegetation away from the base of the tree. This decreases the chances of the redwood being injured by fire when that debris eventually burns. It is difficult to imagine the size of a sierra redwood. You often read or hear stories like the fact that a sierra redwood may contain enough wood to build 40 five-room homes; a tree may weigh 4,000 tons; they are as tall as the Statue of Liberty. However, these stories do little to convey the actual size of these trees. Many people have tried to show others how large redwoods are. Some folks have had their picture taken while riding a horse and buggy on a downed tree. Others have taken photos of the Cavalry on a big tree. A favorite method for rangers to show children how large these trees are uses string. We cut a piece of string 95 feet long and then tie the ends together. The children then spread the string out into a circle. The resulting circle is about the same size around as a redwood with a 30 feet diameter. Several classes can fit inside the circle.

Avenue of the Giants : 

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants : 

Avenue of the Giants With all the talk of Giant Redwoods in California, you might just be wondering what its all about. There are three species of Giant Redwood trees in the world, and two of these are located in California. The coastal Redwood is what you will find at the Avenue of the Giants and the other parks that have Redwoods in them, like Humboldt Redwood State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods Park, and the Redwood National Park. The Sequoia National Park is where the first Giant Sequoia were found, but the Coastal Redwoods actually grow taller than the Sequoia Trees inland. The old growth Redwood Trees on the coast are 200 years old and grow to over three hundred feet in height. The famous Avenue of the Giants is a scenic drive that California is known for, and is a thirty-one mile drive through the Humboldt Redwoods State Parks. While the Sequoia National Park is no less impressive than the coastal redwood trees, it is an entirely different experience. In fact, there are miles of Redwood forests that you can include on your drive through the Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue of the Giants meanders alongside Highway 101 through the Humboldt Redwood State Park, following an overall similar route but varying slightly. There are clearly marked signs directing you to the highway where you can drive through an ancient grove of giant Redwood Trees. Tourists come every year to drive along this scenic highway to see the main attraction, which is the Giant Sequoia. There are a few different trees that are known for their own unique features. You will be amazed that some of these trees have continued to grow despite all that they've been through. The Chimney Tree stands at 78 feet, and is not impressive in size but you will be amazed that it is still growing after being nearly destroyed in a wildfire in 1914. It is close to Hobbiton, which gets a lot of visitors as well who are going to the Redwood National Park and other places with giant Sequoia trees in the area. This is in Phillipsville, along with the One Log House, which is a log house which up of a 40-ton log from a fallen Redwood tree. Most visitors know about the Shrine Drive through tree, which can accommodate smaller vehicles. The Immortal Tree still stands near Redcrest, having endured flooding, fires, and numerous lightning strikes. Although the official tallest Sequoia Trees has changed over the year, the latest and the tallest can be found in the Founders Grove, which is named after the founders of the Save-the-redwoods league, who lobbied to protect the forest and these ancient trees. Here you can find what used to be the biggest Giant Sequoia tree, the Dyerville Giant. This giant Redwood fell to the ground on March 24, 1991, and lost it reputation as the largest of the Redwood trees. The Avenue of the Giants is an awe-inspiring 31-mile drive through Humboldt Country and the fog shrouded, mystical beauty of the Northern California wilderness. The small towns you'll find the way welcome tourists who come to see the Giant Sequoia grove, which is protected as an International Biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. Visitors stop in Phillipsville, just south of the Giant Redwood trees for supplies and restaurants, take a dip in the river, or to stay in the motel for the night. One of the most unforgettable parts of a California vacation is seeing these 2,000 year old giants who tower majestically over the misty woods of California, and can be found from the prairies and the rivers to the 37 miles of pristine Northern California Coast, where you can find the Redwood National Park.

Fun Facts : 

Fun Facts How’s the weather up there? Coastal redwoods are the tallest living species on Earth. They can exceed 300 feet in height, and may be 18-20 feet in diameter nearly 12 feet above the ground. The Mother of the Forest, a 329-foot beauty, is the tallest tree in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The tallest coast redwood anywhere at 367.8 feet, "Tall Tree", lives in Redwood National Park and is 44 feet around at its base. But you can’t judge a tree by its size The size of a tree depends on much more than its age. Growth rates very with climate and other environmental conditions. Four hundred year old redwoods have been found with only 19 inch diameters. And, given proper conditions, second-growth trees can grow to 6 feet across in only 60 years. The incredible immortal tree Unlike those of us reading this, redwoods do not change physiologically as they age. Their growth slows, but they do not deteriorate—and do not die of old age. Their natural enemies are few; some fungi and beetles can cause local damage, and no disease is known to kill them. Only the vagaries of climate change, intense forest fires, occasional harsh storms, and – on a more immediate scale – chain saws threaten the coast redwood. Now that’s some generation gap. Coast redwood trees can live two millennia. The oldest recorded lived to more than 2200 years. This ancient – 12 feet in diameter – was felled in Humboldt County’s Avenue of the Giants in 1934.  Millions and millions of seeds…Are found in every coast redwood grove. When cones mature in the fall, they release their seeds to the wind. Though the cones are less than an inch and a half long, a single large tree many produce six million seeds in a year, totaling an impressive 50 pounds. But of this abundant crop, only one seed in a million will likely produce a mature standing tree. These sprouts are older than they look Redwoods will sprout from their stumps or roots, usually in response to some sort of trauma: fire, mechanical injury, or even change in light intensity. Dormant buds in the burls at the base of a tree also can sprout new growth. When the original tree dies, the surrounding shoots may develop into mature trees, growing in a circle around the parent. These groups of trees are known as "fairy rings." FOG DRIP Coast Redwoods survive in the dry summers by capturing fog and mists that drift in from the oceans.  As incoming fog makes contact with the redwood branches, the moisture accumulates on the fine needles and falls to the soil and vegetation below.   Some of this fog drip is absorbed into the tree by the roots dragging water up the sapwood molecule by molecule to the very top needles and branches.   Where does the fog drip water go?  25% returns through creeks, streams, and rivers to the ocean.  40% is absorbed by the roots.  35% evaporates or enters local water systems.

Fun Facts Continued : 

Fun Facts Continued "Holding hands" underground The roots of a coast redwood are very shallow, growing only four to six feet deep, but spread out from the tree as far as 125 feet. This isn’t much support for a tall, heavy tree—floodwaters can erode top layers of soil, exposing the roots and weakening a tree’s support system. Heavy rains and strong winds can bring even the biggest giant crashing to the ground. But the roots of individual redwoods frequently grow intertwined with those of their neighbors. By "holding hands" underground, the roots form a network that allows the trees to withstand even great storms. Shallow roots are sensitive to smothering silt. The redwood’s roots are shallow so that they can collect large amounts of moisture the tree requires. When sediment accumulates atop its roots, a redwood responds by growing a new root system upwards, into the silt. One toppled coast redwood was found to have developed seven successive root systems, each grown in response to the periodic floods and heavy sedimentation that caused an 11-foot rise in the ground level during the tree’s 1200-year lifetime. Redwood relatives are rare. The coast redwood, , Sequoia sempervirens, has only two close relatives. The shorter but more massive giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) grows only in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The deciduous dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) A veritable midget at 115 feet in height, is found only in a remote area of central China, where it was discovered in 1944. All three species belong to the deciduous cypress family, Taxodiaceae, and trace their roots back to the Mesozoic era – the time of the dinosaurs – between 65 and 225 million years ago. Lumbering giants Stands of Sequoia sempervirens have produced the greatest biomass ever recorded: 1500-tons per acre, more than eight times that found in mature tropical rain forests. A single ancient tree can yield as much as 360,000 board feet of lumber, enough to build 22 houses.

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