Redcrest California in the Giant
Redcrest, California Populationn: 112 Elevation:150
A fascinating history lies
behind the Eternal Tree House. The one-time giant of nature has endured for over
2500 years. The main portion of the tree was felled in the early 1900's by
loggers and became shakes, fence rails and railway ties for the new railway to
Eureka. The remaining stump contained a huge cavern caused by fire centuries ago
and had been used first by Indians and later trappers, hunters, travelers and
their livestock for shelter.
In the 1910's, Harry McLeod, an expert wood
splitter hewed out the interior with an ax and adze. The 20-foot room was
refined in 1950 and a gift shop was started in it. The walls still bear the
marks of the work--mementos of an all-but-lost art.
Although the original trunk of the tree is gone,
it continued living and is the parent of more than a dozen redwoods that issue
from its roots and now are more than 40 feet high.
There's a gift store, gas station, restaurant and
Ye Olde Wishing Well visitors can enjoy during their visit to the Eternal Tree
House in Redcrest, California. Also check out Lewis Redwood where redwood
planters are sold across the street. 800-323-9990. Other gifts include redwood
burl clocks, tables and statues. (A
burl is a hard conglomerate of many dormant buds. The original single bud grew,
but failed to develop into a branch. The irregular growth proceeds to divide and
redivide until a lump (burl) has formed. Some of the over growth is actually a
form of scar tissue, resulting from a past injury to the tree.)
In the cool,
moist climate of the California coastline, redwoods have thrived for 20 million
years. While redwoods must have plentiful moisture and mild temperatures to
survive, they can live in different microclimates within the forest ecosystem:
along ridgetops, beside fluctuating rivers, farther inland (with drier
temperatures), and close to the ocean (with a buffer of salt-tolerant trees).
provides subtle differences in redwood groves. Riverside redwoods benefit from
flooding which brings in rich alluvial soils. Standing tall, redwoods won't
flare out at the base as in other groves, because the base is covered from
hundreds of years of floods. Notice the lack of understory plants. Sword ferns
may be the primary compliment to the redwoods.
walk within ridgetop redwoods, look to the sky. Where more sky appears, more
wildflowers, bushes, and ferns receive light to grow on the forest floor.
Streamside redwoods have more vine and bigleaf maple, tall shoots of the salmon
berry, and western hemlock or octopus tree.
groves close to the ocean have a rich under story of Douglas-fir, western
hemlock, tanoak, huckleberry and evergreen bushes, sword fern, salal, and an
abundance of greenery; Sitka spruce and red alder face the ocean salt spray to
protect these redwoods.
(5-km) round trip trail leads down a steep grade to the Tall Trees Grove. When
you visit, notice the built-up sediment at the base of the trees. In the 1960s
and 1970s, efforts to protect the surrounding Redwood Creek drainage from
logging focused on the the Tall Trees Grove. Upstream logging threatened the
grove by increasing sediment flow in the creek. With the creation of Redwood
National Park in 1968 and with added park lands in 1978, the Tall Trees Grove
and lower Redwood Creek were given protection.
At the southern end of the
parks, take the Bald Hills Road to the Tall Trees Access Road (gravel); also
accessible from the Redwood Creek Trail. Tall Trees Access Road requires a free
permit, obtained at the Redwood Information Center in nearby Orick. A maximum of
50 permits per day are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
found in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains are larger in volume, but not
taller. Redwoods are not the oldest trees in the world, however. Some redwoods
live to 2,000 years. The average age of the redwood trees is 500 to 700 years. A
tree dubbed the Tall Tree in the Tall Trees Grove was once measured at nearly
367.8 feet (120 m). Subsequent logging in the Redwood Creek basin subjected the
grove to windier, drier, and hotter conditions. The Tall Tree's crown fell off
in the 1980s. Today there are other identified tall trees growing through out
the California redwood region. Bristlecone pines, found in many parts of
the western United States, are the oldest. Some may be as old as 5,000 years.