Photo Essay: Exploring My Inner Tree Hugger in Henry Cowell State Park

by Ekua on January 12, 2010 in California,captured on memory card

Back in September, I chaperoned a field trip to Henry Cowell State Park. The park is located in Felton, CA in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There, you will find coast redwoods, the world’s tallest trees, and giant sequoias, the world’s most massive trees. This park doesn’t have the most famous of these trees (such as one you can drive through) or proximity to San Francisco (like Muir Woods). Because of this, there are fewer crowds which gives you a chance to really enjoy and observe the centennial and millennial giants around you.

Redwoods really are fascinating trees. They have an admirable set of survival skills that enable them to work well with the elements and protect them from their enemies… well, except for humans. By the end of the day, I was ready to throw my arms around the wise trees in adoration, and probably would have if they weren’t so big…

I liked the juxtaposition of leaves and leaf shadows.

I wish I could remember why this tree grows this way, I know there was an interesting explanation for this.

A deer.

Me posing with a giant tree. This particular tree has a fire scar. Fire can actually be good for the redwoods because it clears out trees that compete for space and enriches the soil. Mature redwood trees have a thick bark that contains tannins and helps protect them from fire.

Colorful leaves on the ground signaled that fall was approaching.

You can only see a limited portion of the tall trees and it’s interesting to think about what goes on beyond what you see.

I thought these roots of a fallen redwood tree resembled waves. Redwood tree roots are surprisingly shallow. The shallowness allows them to more easily absorb condensation from fog in California’s typically rain-free summers. For support, the roots grow out and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods so the trees can help anchor each other.

The big lump on the tree is called a burl. Inside burls are dormant buds that can grow when the original tree dies.

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