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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DAY 55 - AVENUE OF THE GIANTS


AFTER SPENDING A PLEASANT UNEVENTFUL NIGHT (EXCEPT FOR STRANGE ANIMAL SCREECHES NEARBY), DROVE SPIA BEFORE DAYLIGHT SOUTH TO THE "FOUNDERS GROVE"
MOST GROVES HAVE A "MEMORIAL" SIGN STANDING BEFORE AN IMPRESSIVE STAND OF ANCIENT REDWOOD TREES. "FOUNDERS GROVE" IS A FULL FLEDGED TOURIST STOP WITH AMPLE PARKING, TOILET FACILITIES, CLEARLY MARKED 1/2-MILE LONG TRAILS WITH SIGNS OF EXPLANATION.

AT DAYLIGHT, WALKED NORTH ALONG THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS BACK TO THE VILLAGE OF REDCREST, WHERE I TURNED AROUND YESTERDAY...THEN WALKED BACK TO SPIA AND WALKED THRU "FOUNDERS GROVE".


THIS MUST BE A WELL VISITED GROVE. THE TRAILS ARE WIDE AND EXTREMELY WELL MAINTAINED. WITH A BIT OF HELP, WHEEL CHAIRS COULD NEGOTIATE MOST IF NOT ALL OF THEM.



NUMEROUS GIGANTIC FALLEN TREES LAY ON THE GROUND...HAVING BEEN THERE HUNDREDS OF YEARS, BUT STILL IN NEAR-NEW CONDITION. HERE ONE CAN SEE THE ENTIRE ROOT SYSTEM LAYING VERTICAL NEXT TO A 6 - 8 FOOT DEEP PERFECTLY ROUND HOLE WHERE EACH FALLEN TREE ONCE STOOD.
STANDING OUT ABOVE ALL OTHERS, THE "FOUNDERS TREE" HAS NUMEROUS BENCHES, WOOD PLATFORMS AND OBSERVATION POINTS COMPLETELY AROUND THIS, THE TALLEST (AT 346.1 FEET) TREE I HAVE FOUND ALONG THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS.




THE FOUNDERS TREE




THE AVENUE, ITSELF, IS PRETTY AWESOME IN MANY PLACES. THE CLOSENESS OF 10-FOOT - AND MORE - DIAMETER REDWOODS STANDING WITHIN A COUPLE INCHES OF THE PAVED ROADWAY REQUIRE CLOSE ATTENTION OF DRIVERS.
MANY OF THESE TREES ACTUALLY REACH OVER THE ROADWAY AND SOME HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY CUT BACK 5 FEET OR SO TO HEIGHTS OF OVER 20 FEET TO GIVE MOTOR HOMES AND TRUCKS ROOM TO GET BY WITHOUT RAMMING THE TREE.



FALLING WATERS ALWAYS GIVE A CONTRAST TO THE CLOUD SCRAPING REDWOOD TREES.
REDWOODS ARE MOSTLY SILENT WHEN WALKING THE AVENUE. FALLING WATER OF TINY BROOKS CAN BE HEARD SOME DISTANCE BEFORE REACHING THEM.
WALKING THE AVENUE REALLY IS MUCH LIKE WALKING DOWN CENTER AISLE OF A CATHEDRAL.


THIS IS A REDWOOD TREE STUMP...PROBABLY CUT DOWN BY A CREW OF AXE YIELDING LOGGERS OVER 150 YEARS AGO.
I INCLUDE THIS PHOTOGRAPH WHICH CLEARLY SHOWS THE "SPRING BOARD" SLOTS CHOPPED INTO THE TREE BEFORE STARTING TO CUT IT DOWN.
HAVING NOT SEEN A PHOTOGRAPH OR THE ACTUAL "SPRING BOARD", ONE CAN IMAGINE A BOARD ABOUT 15 FEET LONG AND 6 INCHES WIDE JAMMED INTO ONE OF THOSE SLOTS, FORMING A FLEXIBLE PLATFORM ONTO WHICH THE LOGGER MUST
CLIMB, AXE (OR CROSS-CUT SAW) IN HAND.
HIS CUTTING PARTNER, STANDING ON A SIMILAR SPRING BOARD IS HIDDEN FROM VIEW.
TOGETHER THESE TWO LOGGERS, AXE (OR SAW THEIR WAY) COMPLETELY THRU TREES WIDER THAN A PICK-UP TRUCK.
JUST IMAGINE STANDING 10 FEET OFF THE GROUND ON SUCH A NARROW BOARD FLEXING VIOLENTLY WITH EACH AXE SWING OR SAW STROKE AS THE GIANT REDWOOD TREE STARTS TO MOVE...TIPPING OUT OF THE SKY...CRASHING TO THE GROUND.
A SEISMONITOR (SP ?) WOULD SURELY REGISTER A SMALL EARTHQUAKE AS SUCH A TREE SMACKS INTO THE EARTH.
THESE DAYS, GIANT CHAIN SAWS ARE USED TO DO THE JOB.
I HAVE CUT DOWN MY SHARE OF BIG TREES...NOTHING EVEN CLOSE TO SOMETHING SUCH AS AN ANCIENT REDWOOD TREE.


ALL ALONG THE AVENUE, DEDICATION OR MEMORIALS MARK GROVES OF TREE HONORING INDIVIDUALS OR ORGANIZATIONS.
THE SIGNS ARE MASSIVE, ENGRAVED IN GOLD PAINT, AND CAREFULLY MAINTAINED BY REDWOOD PARK EMPLOYEES.




SOME GROVES REMAIN AS NATURE PRESENTS THEM.
OTHER GROVES ARE CLEAR OF UNDERBRUSH AND LOOK AS IF COMBED AND CLIPPED.



SPIA LOOKS VERY SMALL INDEED SURROUNDED BY THESE GIANTS...SOME THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD.



THIS SIGN SUGGESTS THAT REDWOOD TREES TEND TO BE UNSTABLE BECAUSE OF THE ROOT SYSTEM - SHALLOW, NARROW, AND WITHOUT A DEEP CENTRAL "TAP ROOT".
APPARENTLY THE TREE PERFORMS A PERPETUAL BALANCING ACT BY GROWING MASSIVE LIMBS WHERE NEEDED TO KEEP THE TREE FROM TOPPLING OVER.
REMINDS ME OF THE TORONTO, CANADA TOWER...TO KEEP IT STABLE, IT HAS A SERIES OF CONNECTED HEAVY "BALLS" INSIDE. THESE BALLS MOVE BACK AND FORTH IN A WELL CHOREOGRAPHED DANCE, OFFSETTING TOWER MOVEMENT FROM THE WIND OR EARTHQUAKE.

REDWOOD TREE LIMBS ACT IN A SIMILAR WAY.



THIS IS ONE OF THREE "DRIVE THRU" REDWOOD TREES ALONG THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS.
ON PROPERTY NEAR THE EEL RIVER BANK, OWNED BY J.R. AND HIS SISTER AND BROTHER, THE "SHRINE DRIVE THRU TREE" HAS LONG BEEN DEAD. A FEW YEARS AGO, THE EARTH UNDER THE SHRINE TREE ROOTS SYSTEM SANK 3 FEET, NEARLY TOPPLING THE TREE. J.R SAVED IT BY ATTACHING A SERIES OF STEEL CABLES ANCHORED TO NEARBY REDWOOD TREES.
PASSING THRU IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
J.R. SAYS IT HAS NOT MOVED IN THE PAST 4 OR 5 YEARS.
SPIA IS TOO LARGE TO FIT THRU THE 7 X 7 FOOT OPENING, BUT I DID WALK THRU. THE INSIDE OF THE TREE IS COMPLETELY HOLLOW...LIKE A GIANT PIPE STANDING ON END. TRIED TO GET A PHOTO INSIDE THE PIPE, BUT ONLY ACHIEVED A ROUND LIGHT AT THE TOP...MY FLASH WOULD NOT ILLUMINATE THE INSIDE ABOVE 15 FEET OR SO OF THE 100 FOOT HIGH TRUNK. THE ORIGINAL TREE - WHICH THE SIGN SAYS IS 5,000 YEARS OLD - IS MISSING ABOVE 100 FEET.
THERE IS ONE MORE DRIVE THRU TREE SOUTH OF MYERS FLAT, WHERE J.R.'S TREE STANDS. I WILL WALK TO THAT TREE IN A COUPLE DAYS...IT IS THE ONE I HAVE PREVIOUSLY DRIVEN THRU SINCE THE 1950'S.


J.R. WAS PARTICULARLY KIND TO US. HE ALLOWED SPIA TO PARK OVERNIGHT...EVEN BROUGHT AN EXTENSION CORD FOR ELECTRICITY FOR OUR "MINI".
THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH, J.R.


FROM THIS REDWOOD TREE TRUNK, J.R. HAS CRAFTED A "TREE HOUSE", COMPLETE WITH HEARTH, WINDOWS AND DOORS - INCLUDING AN "UPSTARS ROOM" AND A REDWOOD SHAKE ROOF. ANOTHER SUCH TREE HOUSE STANDS A FEW FEET AWAY.
J.R. IS IN THE PROCESS OF MODERNIZING HIS PROPERTY FOR FUTURE VISITORS. HE IS VERY GOOD AT CHAIN-SAW ART, HAVING MANY COMPLETED FIGURES STANDING ABOUT.
NEXT MAJOR CHAIN SAW ART FOR J.R. IS TO CREATE A RAILROAD TRAIN, COMPLETE WITH ENGINE AND MANY CARS WHICH FOLKS CAN ACTUALLY CLIMB OR SIT IN.

J.R. OF MYERS FLAT. IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING A NEW ENTRANCE TO HIS GIFT SHOP...READY FOR THE SUMMER VISITORS - IF GAS PRICES WOULD JUST STOP CLIMBING.



MANY LIVING REDWOOD TREES HAVE LARGE "HOLES" IN THE CENTER OF THEM.
WALKING THE AVENUE, I PASSED MORE THAN A HALF DOZEN JUST TODAY. I COULD EASILY WALK THROUGH THE HOLES AND MOVE AROUND INSIDE THE CENTER OF THE TREES. DID NOT HAVE A FLASHLIGHT, SO COULD NOT SEE THE TRUE EXTENT...BUT COULD SEE FROM THE OUTSIDE THAT SOME OF THOSE "HOLES" EXTEND 100 FEET OR HIGHER.
NOT SURE WHAT IS CAUSING THESE BIG OPENINGS, BUT THE TREES SEEM TO LIVE ON WITH THEIR INNARDS GONE...AMAZING.

IN THE PIC ABOVE, THE TREE IS GONE, BUT THE HOLE REMAINS. SOMEHOW THAT DOESN'T SOUND JUST RIGHT.



INSIDE A LARGE HOLE IN A STILL LIVING REDWOOD TREE.
CLICK CLICK...NOTICE THE BURN MARKS...THIS TREE HAS BEEN BURNING FROM THE INSIDE ... ALSO NOT UNCOMMON...SAW MANY SUCH TREES ALONG THE AVENUE.



AND ANOTHER LIVING REDWOOD TREE WITH IT'S HEART CUT OUT.



AND YET, ANOTHER
NOTICE THE WHITE LINE...THAT IS THE EDGE OF THE AVENUE...WHERE VEHICLES MUST PASS.



YES...AND YET ANOTHER LIVING REDWOOD TREE...A GREAT PLACE TO SEEK SHELTER FROM A PASSING STORM OR AN ANGRY BEAR.



AND HERE IS SOMETHING SO COMMON AS TO BE "NORMAL"
FROM A SINGLE SET OF ROOTS (OR PERHAPS ROOTS SO TIGHTLY INTERTWINED) THAT TWO - AND SOMETIMES MANY MORE - REDWOOD TREES GROW FROM A SINGLE ROOT.

NASA IS FINDING THAT THE UNIVERSE IS "NORMAL" FOR STARS TO BE ACTUALLY TWO STARS (BINARY STAR SYSTEM) ROTATING AROUND EACH OTHER...KINDA LIKE A BATON WHIRLED BY A MAJORETTE. (OUR SUN MAY IN FACT HAVE A TWIN NOT YET DETECTED)
SO, WHY NOT MULTIPLE REDWOOD TREES SPRINGING FROM A SINGLE SOURCE.



A "BINARY" REDWOOD TREE...NOT UNCOMMON AT ALL.
I HAVE MANY PHOTOGRAPHS OF SUCH TREES...BUT WOULD BE BORING TO UPLOAD THEM ALL.



BUT JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT...HERE IS ANOTHER "BINARY" REDWOOD.




A SOLITARY "SUNSPOT" IN AN OTHERWISE QUITE DARK REDWOOD GROVE.



DURING MY AFTERNOON WALK FROM MYERS FLAT BACK TO BURLINGTON CAMPGROUND, MET "RON".
RON WAS PARKED IN A GROVE OF REDWOODS...FEELS JUST LIKE BEING IN A CATHEDRAL, RON SHOUTS TO ME AS I WALK BY.
STOPPING TO CHAT FOR A FEW MINUTES, RON, A LOCAL NATIVE OUT TO SEE THE LOCAL SIGHTS, OFFERED ME A RIDE THE FINAL MILE BACK TO J.R.'S.
RON AGREED THAT MANY CALIFORNIANS NO LONGER PICK UP HITCH HIKERS (TELL ME ABOUT IT); BUT, BEING A PROMINENT HITCH HIKER HIMSELF WITH HAIR TO HIS WAIST DURING THE "LOVE ERA" OF THE 1960'S, HE IS THE CALIFORNIA EXCEPTION.
TO PICK UP HITCH HIKERS, YOU GOTTA BE A HITCH HIKER YOURSELF...I HITCHED ALL OVER AMERICA BACK IN THE 60'S, SAYS RON...



KINDA "R" RATED:
MOST FOLKS HAVE HEARD OF "THE BUNG HOLE"
ABOVE PHOTOGRAPH GRAPHICALLY PROTRAYS:
A BUNG HOLE; AND,
A BUNG
THESE WINE BARRELS ARE ON DISPLAY AT "RIVERBEND CELLARS" OF MYERS FLAT.
OWNED BY "THOMAS", RIVERBEND CELLARS SITS ON A 280 DEGREE "BEND" OF THE EEL RIVER ( AVENUE OF THE GIANTS PARALLELS THE EEL RIVER). OWNING AND TENDING MANY ACRES OF THEIR OWN GRAPE VINYARDS, RIVERBEND CELLARS PRODUCES A RANGE OF QUALITY WINES.
MYERS FLAT IS AN ALMOST ROUND VALLEY 200 FEET ABOVE THE NEARBY PACIFIC OCEAN. IN THE SUMMER, TEMPERATURE OF 100 DEGREES IS NOT UNCOMMON. THE PERFECT PLACE FOR WINE GRAPES.
I JUST HAPPENED TO STROLL PAST DURING "TASTE OF HUMBOLDT" WINE TASTING HOUR.


THOMAS, BEING ALREADY PREOCCUPIED, TURNED ME OVER TO HIS MASTER WINE MAKER, "DAN".
DAN HAS TRAVELLED EXTENSIVELY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IN PURSUIT OF WINES...MANY OF THE SAME PLACES I, TOO, HAVE VISITED.
SPENT THE BETTER PART OF AN HOUR SIPPING:
-RIVERBEND CELLARS CHARDONNAY '06
-RIVER ROSE '06 ESTATE -
- RIVERBEND CELLARS MERLOT '04 ESTATE
- RIVERBEND CELLARS SASQUATCH RED -
- RIVERBEND CELLARS SYRAH '06 ESTATE
AND TWO OR THREE OTHERS DAN RESCUED FROM THE BACK ROOM AS WE CHATTED ABOUT WINES (YES, FOLKS, HAVE DABBLED IN WINES A BIT, TOO)
RIVERBEND CELLARS OFFERS THE "AVENUE WINE CLUB" TO FOLKS 21 YEARS OLD AND OVER, TO RECEIVE QUARTERLY 3 BOTTLES OF ESTATE SELECTED WINES...AMID CERTAIN GUIDELINES.
RIVERBEND MAY BE CONTACTED AT 707-943-9907 (FAX: 707-943-9912) OR ONLINE AT http://www.riverbendcellars.com/...riverbendcellars@gotsky.com
VISITORS TO SPIA MAY SAMPLE RIVERBEND WINES, AS WE HAVE PURCHASED A FEW BOTTLES OF MY FAVORITES TO SHARE. I PROMISE NOT TO DRINK IT ALL UP BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.


AND, SO, COMES THE END TO ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF SPIA, SAM & ME.
DAILY UPDATE: WALKED IN THREE SESSIONS, 32 MILES...COUNT 15 MILES
SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: CREDIT 15 MILES @$0.02 PER MILE = $0.30 FOR THE DAY.
IN THE MORNING, J.R. HAS AGREED THAT SPIA MAY REMAIN ANOTHER DAY IN MYERS FLAT. AT THE CRACK OF DAWN, I WILL WALK SOUTH ON THE AVENUE FOR THE FINAL 12 MILES.
12 MILES SHOULD TAKE 3 - 3.5 HOURS. RETURN TO SPIA SHOULD GET ME BACK TO MYERS FLAT SOMETIME AROUND NOON.
WE WILL, THEREFORE, COMPLETE (DOUBLE) OUR WALK OF THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS - BET EVERYONE IS A BIT SATED WTH BIG TREES BY NOW.
WE WILL SOON ENTER INTO MENDOCINO AND NAPA VALLEYS, WHERE WE CAN SPEND SOME PLEASANT DAYS WALKING THROUGH THE STORIED VALLEYS OF CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY.

A LAST MINUTE INFO UPDATE:
IT IS NOW 5:50 AM (BEEN AT THIS BLOG UPDATE SINCE 2:00 AM) AND IT IS RAINING LIKE HE.. (DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS). DAYLIGHT IS IN 45 MINUTES. I AM HUNGRY. I AM STILL SLEEPY. PERHAPS I WILL DELAY MY MORNING WALK A WEE BIT...AFTER ALL, I HAVE NO "SCHEDULE" AND NO ONE TO REALLY CARE IF I WALK OR NOT...'CEPT YOU FOLKS, OF COURSE.






























1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you hear about the tsunami warning Bruce. Please let us know you're okay as soon as you can.

-D