Saturday, July 20, 2013

Several Steinbeck Institute participants rented a car today and drove north to the redwood forests near Santa Cruz.  We opted to have a guide take us through the old-growth forest in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and it was well worth it! Our guide was an engaging storyteller, full of knowledge of the trees and their various adaptations, the legends surrounding the forest, and the efforts to preserve the Coastal Redwoods.  To clarify (because we were confused), Coastal Redwoods are a type of sequoia that grows in a belt along the west coast of the United States (and very near the coast).  They need acidic soil, summer fog (they require 200 gallons of water each day), and a temperate climate.  The biome is a temperate rainforest.  These Coastal Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world.  The tree referred to as the Giant Sequoia (Giant Redwood) is found only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  These are the widest trees in the world.  If you've seen photos of cars driving through tree trunks, the trees are Giant Redwoods.

I am going to let the photos speak for themselves (hmmm… with the exception of the captions I think are necessary)!
This Coastal Redwood was about 2200 years old!
Sharon, Trish, Beccie, Jamie, and Courtney
A forest 'nursery'
My neck hurt taking this photo!
Courtney and Sharon inside a Coastal Redwood (rumored to have sheltered Lt. John Fremont, his fellow Civil War soldiers and their horses!  It was BIG but not that big!) 
A rare albino redwood.  These are genetic offspring of a normal redwood and rely on the 'parent' for nutrition.
A banana slug!
The beach at Santa Cruz

Obviously, I am not a Californian!  The beach-goers in the back were in swim suits while I sported a coat and knit hat!

Pelicans flying to their roost on the rock to the right of the photo

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