It was way back in 1999 when I first heard of the Redwood forests. An environmental activist by the name of Julia Hill lived atop a 1000 year old redwood for more than 700 days. She was trying to save it from being logged. The tree was finally spared and later named Luna. But not before several old growth trees were cut down.
Watching the news, I wondered... How could someone live like that? Why would someone want to do something like that?
Last week, I found the answers to my questions. All it took was a walk among these quiet giants. Gazing up, I sensed my own smallness and I felt a sense of awe, admiration and respect. This is a timeless place. Born when Aztecs and Mayans ruled South America, these redwoods have nurtured and nourished the land here for centuries. Intense logging however has reduced these forests to a tiny fraction. Only 4% of the old growth redwood forests remain. Any and every effort to save them is worthy.
My trip began on Christmas. It was raining when I reached. Winter brings much needed rain to the Redwood coast. Forests glisten and look extra green. Rain or no rain, all I wanted to do was hike among the tall ones. I hiked and I hiked and I hiked some more. With very few tourists this time of the year, the hikes can be a peaceful and soothing experience. All you hear is the rain, the rain drops, the streams and occasionally your own thoughts.
This is a tree hugger's paradise. The first few days, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was trying to photograph every single tree. Low light, the height of the trees and the rain makes the redwoods very difficult to photograph. Well, that didn't stop me. I probably took about a 1000 pictures. And I hiked all possible trails. The hike I enjoyed the most was the James Irvine trail. It was a 8 mile hike to the Fern Canyon and back. It was around lunch time when I walked straight into a herd of grazing Roosevelt Elks. They didn't run. Everyone looked up and at me, decided I was harmless and continued their merry grazing. I sat down, ate my granola bars and took plenty of pictures.
I have a few pictures here
The rain gods were kind to me. The rain was light and enjoyable the entire time. It was as if they were waiting for me to leave!
As I said before, this place is a tree hugger's paradise. It is also a tree hugger's heartbreak. Luna (the saved tree) was badly damaged by morons who hated Julia. Logging of old growth redwood continues today. Pacific Lumber Company owns large parts of this area and to them it is just a matter of profits. Several lawsuits have been filed and continue to be filed against the company. In a materialistic world, I am not sure how much time these forests have left. It is a consolation however to know that there are people who care and are willing to fight.
Quote of the day
"Every religion in the world builds shrines, temples, and churches so people can worship and feel connected to creation and the Creator. Yet the ancient forest cathedrals are continuously desecrated by industrial logging practices. Protecting the sacred forest ecosystems is a moral imperative on behalf of all life and compels all spiritual people to unite in this common goal."~ Julia Hill, Founder of CircleOfLife.org