Continuing my series from San Francisco, this week I take you to an amazing place..

The Big Basin Redwoods

Brief history and overview

One of California’s oldest state parks, The Redwoods Park is home to ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on earth.

Covering more than18000 acres and ranging from sea level to heights of more than 2000 ft elevation, this place is truly awe -inspiring!!! Some of the trees are more than 300 ft tall and 50 ft in circumference and are estimated to be 1000 to 2500 years old.

The coast redwoods ( Sequoia Sempervirens ) are native to the US and are found only along the Pacific coast from Oregon to California….No wonder the Redwood is California’s state tree!  Sempervirens means “ever living”

There is evidence that this place was inhabited much before the Spanish explored the area in 1700s. The European explorations followed by the gold rush resulted in wide spread logging and deforestation. A group called the Sempervirens club was formed to halt this destruction and finally in 1901, a state park was created

Apart  from redwood, this place is home to Douglas-fir, Red alder ,oak  and myrtle apart from lot of native shrubs. Foxes, coyotes, bob cats and a variety of birds inhabit this park.

There are plenty of facilities for  recreational activities like hiking and camping .

Peculiarities of REDWOOD TREES

Bark: It can be upto a foot thick and protects the growing part of the tree

Roots: Are remarkably shallow for such tall trees but they grow sideways and fuse with neighboring roots forming a network which gives more stability

Leaves:Can catch water from fog and hence helps tide over drought

Dormant Buds: Continue to grow after a part of the trunk or branch falls off

Red Pigment: Tanin, the red pigment is a potent insect repellent

This explains the relative strength, resilience and longevity of these trees…no wonder they are “everliving”

Our Trip

Located at Santa Cruz county, we drove down to Big Basin Redwoods State park. A huge tunnel tree at the entrance welcomed us to the park.

Let me take you through the park with my pictures so that you can see these trees yourself…better than any explanation I give…take a look….

The huge tunnel tree at the entrance…a giant by any standards!

One of the many walking trails in the park

A fallen redwood tree

Sunlight trying to filter in through the canopy   

Mother of the Forest Tree( zoom to see details)

This is one of the oldest and tallest trees in the Big Basin

The Campfire area with seats made of fallen redwoods   

The Campfire area looks very attractive…with seats carved out of fallen redwood trees.a covered stage and a huge fire ring.


Measuring tree height….a display board explains 

I visited this park in 2019….however, after that there was a major fire here .

(CZU fire) Forest fire in 2020

Unfortunately this park is now closed to visitors temporarily. A fire swept through the visitor centre of this park in August 2020 destroying most of the visitor centre, some parts of the camp ground and a few redwoods. Majority of the ancient trees however survived this fire . Hopefully the park should reopen soon after the renovation activities.

Let us hope, that happens fast….

There is another amazing sight in this park,….a fallen tree…its roots displayed like a sculpture…take a look

Standing against a natural sculpture…the roots of a fallen redwood tree….see the beauty even in its fall…….

When I saw the beauty even in the roots of a fallen tree, I thought….

These trees would say:

Here I stand strong and tall

Withstanding it all

Giving hope to one and

Even after we fall….

See you all next week in yet another amazing place…Yosemite National park…till then goodbye

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In case you missed my last’s the link

San francisco 2

The big sur

We met last week at Zion National Park(

Leaving the canyons behind, we arrived San Jose from Las Vegas. We were picked up by our friend who lives in San Jose.Well we have been family friends for years , being neighbours we are like extended family….So it was a home coming of sorts for us!

We took a walk around his house and since it was halloween time, saw the decorations in front of many houses.

He treated us to dinner at an Italian restaurant that night.

Dinner at an Italian restaurant with our hosts

Next day, he drove us to Big Sur..

Brief overview

The Big Sur is a rugged stretch of Pacific coastline of central California known for its scenic beauty.The Santa Lucia mountains rising abruptly from the Pacific ocean results in steep coastal cliffs, redwood forests and beaches.The narrow road lies between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific ocean.It has often been described as the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in America.In 1937, the present highway was completed after eighteen years of construction. The highway has since been declared California’s first Scenic Highway, and it provides a driving experience unsurpassed in natural beauty and scenic variety.(Resembles the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne with lesser winding roads!!)

Highly restrictive development plans for the area has led to it being sparsely populated and hence helped preserve its natural beauty.There are various look out points along the coast, besides hiking trails, reserve forests and camping grounds

Historically the name Big Sur was derived from El Sur Grande, The Big South( the name given to the unexplored wilderness areas south of Monterey)

Traveling to Big Sur

You can travel to the Big Sur only by car…either your own or a rental car.

Depending on the time in hand , you could spend anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days doing this trip. It entirely depends on how many stops you take!

Carmel, and San Simeon are two cities between which this beautiful drive lies. You could start from either end and skirt the pacific coastline. Whalewatching is another sought after activity here.

The Monterey Bay   


At Monterey with our friends…


The Bixby Creek Bridge


The Pacific Coast

We visited Carmel...a small beach city in the Monterey peninsula known for its scenic beauty and artistic history.

Its narrow streets are dotted with restaurants and retail establishments. The atmosphere is very festive with tourists thronging the streets. Had lunch at one of the restaurants and strolled around the streets for some time.

I must mention here that I have never had such delicious Tiramisu anywhere else!!!

Our Next Destination was The 17 Mile drive

The 17 Mile Drive is a scenic drive in the Monterey Peninsula  along the Pacific coast and passes through famous golf courses, beaches, mansions and other attractions. Visitors have to pay a toll to use this road which passes through a gated community.A route map is provided to the visitor .

Most of the drive passes through the Del Monte Forest area and you can access the beaches at designated places. There are clear sign boards and following them one can reach the choice destination.

In contrast to Big Sur,which is natural by and large; 17 mile drive is more man made….with golf courses, large mansions,picnic spots and other recreational avenues.This is more a representation of American High-end Cultural lifestyle. Whatever it represents or whichever way it came….its definitely worth a drive.

The map showing the drive and attractions on 17 mile drive

One of the main attractions is Pebble beach

Pebble beach has a famous golf course by the sea…which is a novelty and is a venue for many international golf tournaments. I am no golf expert but from what little I know, there is no other golf course by the sea. It is extremely beautiful.

At Pebble Beach                                                                         

Golf course on Pebble Beach

Another point is Point Joe

Particularly rocky part which is infamous for ship wrecks in olden days named after Joe a native who lived here in a driftwood hut

Point Joe

Driving further down we were at Bird Rock

On a lucky day one can spot seals on the rock….but we were not in luck!

Finally we reached Lone Cypress

It is a single Cypress tree atop a rocky pedestal overlooking the Pacific.

The Lone Cypress

The view of this single lone cypress tree on a small cliff overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean is beautiful to say the least.

As I stood and watched this, a poetic thought rushed through my mind….

Here I stand lone and tall!

Here I stand lone and tall!

Happy to see you all!

Must visit me one and all!

Do come to see me…lest I fall!!!

So let us get inspired by this lonely tree standing up to the vagaries of the mighty Pacific …Meanwhile you all stay strong till we meet next week at…..downtown San Francisco

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