Earlier in the year, my wife and I took a trip to visit as many of the Redwood parks in northern redwood range as possible. We visited Redwood National Park back in 2017, but were only able to spend a few days there. Most of that time was spent in Prairie Creek. We missed all of the state parks off of US 101, and we didn't get to Del Norte or Jedediah Smith in Redwood National Park because we didn't have enough time. I was really impressed with what I saw just driving north to Redwood National Park and it planted the seed of taking a trip to see all of the redwood range. I wanted to see the farthest north naturally occurring redwoods in Oregon as well as the farthest south trees in Big Sur.
We didn't have enough time to do the entire range in one trip. So we focused on the northern range for this trip. We started in Montgomery Woods, worked our way north to the Redwood grove in Oregon in Siskiyou National Forest. In between, we stopped at Hendy woods, Richardson Grove, Humboldt, Grizzly Woods, Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek, Del Norte, Jedediah Smith, and before we returned to San Francisco to fly home, Armstrong Woods. The scenery was amazing and it was really interesting seein how the redwood forest character changed depending on how far north or south you were.
It was also kind of sad to see how little regard most people hold for these forests, both historically and in the present. Only 5% of the original old growth redwoods remain. Abandoned logging roads threaten to choke or completely stop streams with silt. Many of the parks with old growth groves aren't respected by visitors either. People go off trail, stomp understory plants, and generally make a mess. There is more to the redwood forest than standing on a fallen log. It's the ferns, the redwood sorrel, the mosses. Those can't grow if you stomp through them to get a cliche picture of yourself hugging a tree. Most people wouldn't step over a rope in a museum to touch a painting or a sculpture. Why are they ok with doing essentially the same thing in nature?
I really enjoyed this trip. I look forward to getting back out there and seeing the trees in the southern half of the range. At the very least, I want to the see the ones that grow near Big Sur so I can compare it to what I saw in Oregon.