Early 2015 I was lucky enough to get invited along to a research trip with some of the Arborists from Melbourne, travelling all the way to the Northern Californian woods to explore some of the oldest and largest trees on the earth. With the Sequoia sempervirens (Coastal Redwood) living around 2000 years and the Sequoiadendron gigantaem (Giant Redwood) living up to an impressive age of 3000-4000 years old. Both are evergreen conifers (gymnosperms) and its no surprise being thousands of years old that they are gigantic! With some of the larger ones measuring up to 117 meters tall. They are believed to have been a dominant tree during the Jurassic period (135-180 million years ago) and have evolved into a highly resilient species. With bark so thick it is impenetrable to decay and highly resistant to fire; a natural component of the trees life cycle, not so dissimilar to our eucalyptus back home. While they were common during the Jurassic period they are now limited to the Northern Californian Forests in altitudes between 5,000 to 8,000 feet, absorbing moisture from the foggy air onto its leaves, which then in turn drop down to the ground and are absorbed by the intricate root system. They are truly a remarkable tree with a complex eco-system and such a grand scale; the density of them in such close proximity in itself is an amazing sight, best experienced in the flesh of course.
Ascending up a Sequoia sempervirens using non-destructive measures to preserve the tree and ensure no damage is done.
A quick stop-off to inspect one of many 100m+ trees lining the highways in Humboldt.
Camping spot within Humboldt, with free roaming deers and beautiful scenery.
Setting out to explore the forest and find the perfect tree to climb and explore.
A sneak peak of some of the beauty running through the heart of the forest. As light filters through these giants of trees and into the understorey growth; it allows you to reflect and remember the beauty of mother nature and just how little you can be, just a 6 foot twenty something year old walking within a forest that is thousands of years old and over fifty or so times taller than you.
The team setting up our climbing equipment after having found our perfect tree.
One of the team using a crossbow to shoot a fishing line up, which will then be pulled through and attached to a larger line and eventually a climbing rope. Since these trees were so so huge we could only get a line up less than halfway, then having to shoot a few more times upwards while in the tree to reach the top.
Here I come! I can tell you one thing, its tougher on your body than you think, do you remember climbing a gym rope in high school?
Still struggling up...
While we enjoyed climbing the Sequoia sempervirens we also ventured into the Avenue of the Giants to check out the Sequoiadendron gigantaem which truly were gigantic! An amazing red colour radiates off the bark with tree bases up to 10 meters in diameter they are truly a beautiful tree.
The constant fog from the altitude reminded me somewhat of Hollywood sets, mysterious and creepy...
Having a climb on a fallen tree.
Up close with some roaming deers near a tree cavity.
Then of course amazing sunsets when the fog cleared. If you ever needed a place to get in touch with nature and explore the beauty of mother earth I would highly recommend visiting the Redwoods of Northern California.
Note: Do not attempt to climb the redwoods without consent and proper experience