Friday, March 07, 2008

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Entrance of the RedWoods State Park One of the other places I visited while in California was the beautiful and lush green Redwood forest. Sited in the Santa Cruz Mountains the state park is home to some of the tallest and biggest trees in the world. Big Basin was declared a state park in 1902 and since then has been involved in conservation of these redwood trees. The route to Big Basin is through some very narrow and steep roads. Driving through the road I felt as I was in India because the roads in hill stations of India are quite similar to these, narrow, curvaceous and surrouded by beautiful forests. But there is one difference here, that is the organised way in which property has been developed. There are no petty shops, hotels etc on the road. The few farms/ ranches that are sited along the road are set deep within the forest and can't be seen. The only sign of human habitation in this region is the numerous mail boxes that are installed beside the highway. It took us 45 minutes of meandering through the hilly tracts to reach the entrance of the Redwoods State Park.

The Big Basin Redwoods State Park was established in 1902 with the primary aim of preserving these tallest trees in the world. The botanical name of Redwood tree is Sequoia sempervirens, it is also known as the Coastal Redoowd. This state park also has the distinction of being the oldest in California. The state park sprawls over 18,000 acres and has 3,000 acres of redwood trees alone and extends upto the Pacific Ocean including 20 sq miles of watershed.

Cross Section of the Redwood tree trunk We parked our rented car at the entrance of the park. On display is a cross section of the trunk kept for display so visitors can get an idea of how big and how solid the tree is. After registering and paying the parking fees ($6 per day) we decided to first take on the .75 mile Redwood Trail. This is the shortest trail but gives a perfect picture of the entire forest. The trail goes through the Redwood Circle which is a circle where ancient redwood trees thrived for centuries. The trees which are present around the circle are the offsprings of these old trees. Then there are two trees which are called Father and Mother of the Redwood forest. Both the trees are estimated to be around 2,000 years old and the entire redwood forest is believed to be the result of these two trees. Standing 329 ft from ground, the Mother tree is the tallest in the forest. Both trees are about 75 ft wide at the base. It is impossible to see the top of the tree without craning our necks.
Mother Tree of the forest Father of the Forest

Sun light hardly penetrates through these tall trees to the ground. In the middle of the Redwood trail flows the Opal Creek which is a major tributary of the Waddell Creek. Sturdy wooden bridges enable hikers cross the creek without getting into the water. It is nice to see the water gurgling and hear the wind whistling through the trees. The only noise we heard was the chattering of a bunch of school kids who were on a hiking trip and learning about the country's rich natural heritage and why it should be preserved.
starting point of the Redwood Trail After clearing the Redwood Trail we decided to head to anothter trail which leads to a water falls about 4 miles away but since time was short we decided that we would go halfway and turn back. We walked through the forest climbing uphill enjoying the feel of moist mud below and inhaling the pure oxygen-rich air of the forest, marvelling at the trees and natures creation. After about an hour we turned back towards the park headquarters. We saw Banana Slug and a strange looking lizard in the forest. Here are some pictures of Redwoods State Park.

Strange looking lizard in Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Slow moving Banana Slug is an interesting animal common in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This is the first time I set my eyes upon this shell-less snail like creature. Wonder what its life cycle is like?


Deepu George V said...

keep posting photos also dear Sahasi...

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

Nice forest.

Have not seen that lizard before in the redwoods.

Have you been to Jed Smith redwoods?

Grove of Titans Redwoods at Jed Smith Park

That's my regular hiking area.