25 August 2017

Lady Bird Johnson Grove

Redwood National Park

Click for map.

The coastal redwoods do not get too close to the coast, they like a buffer between themselves and the salt air, so after the coastal wander we still needed our daily dose of tall trees, preferably old growth. Going from the obscure to the well advertised, we stopped by the Lady Bird Johnson Grove just in time to watch a logging truck full of redwood zip under the bridge and down the road marked "not recommended for trailers". This may be the national park and the road may look small enough to be going nowhere much, but it goes all the way through, which is not that far, and out into private lands owned by logging companies.

out at the sign and the bridge
A little information and a road crossing bridge to start the trail.

Across the bridge and into areas logging companies salivate over, but as yet cannot touch, we get into the serious business of looking up. This is an interpretive trail and there are plenty of brochures, mostly well used, tucked away in the box for a little idle learning as well.

directly upward into the branches
Seriously looking up. First bit of idle learning: redwood forests are not a monoculture and have plenty of other trees in with them. The one on the left is a Douglas fir.

up up up and bushy
Just more looking upward.

fire scars between two trees
Way up where the fire once lapped. They will eventually get to telling us about protective bark, water based sap instead of oil, and cones that need fire to drop their seeds.

The trail splits for the loop and we keep left to go with the numbers. Little use trails go all over and someone has decided to try putting little signs by them with random redwood facts, mostly ones not in the interpretive trail brochure. At first, they are directly related to why it might be bad form to go off trail like how the root system is quite shallow.

thin and tall along the trail
Trees of all ages standing tall around the trail.

stump and a hole in the canopy
One tree got too old, or more likely, according to the brochure, suffered a calamity.

trees with white bark or red bark
Some big trees with very different colored bark.

Near the far end of the loop trail is the dedication stone. Nearby is a bench and just a little further is a trail that goes down all the way to the freeway and a little past to Elk Meadow where the Trillium Falls loop starts.

dedication stone below tall trees
Somewhere under the tall trees is a dedication stone.

Meanwhile, the interpretive brochure notes that the ridge up to here was clear cut just a few decades ago. Turning around, there is something like a row (nature is not very good at rows) of bigger trees and then a thick crowd of thin things. Admittedly, there still is not all that much distance that can be looked upon down the hill, but there does seem to be a drastic change in the forest.

skinny trees all the way down
They do look young, both thin and short, heading down the hill. They are also a little clustered.

fat trees
Still some rather fat trees around in other directions.

single redwood sorrel flower
Of all the redwood sorrel in the area, only a single flower could be found.

The loop turns back to travel past even more big trees.

trail past many trees
Just looking down along the trail.

couple more big trees
A pair of lifelong competitors still striving as best they can.

young and old
Reaching to similar heights, as near as I can tell, but young and old are easily distinguished by girth.

And then passes by a few shaped by fire.

burned tunnel below one tree
A crawl through tree? Fire has sculpted a tunnel.

tall burn leaving a leg
Another burn victim that has lost the center, but edges remain.

more wandering between trees
Finishing up wandering through the trees.

Then the trail turns back on itself and it is a short wander back to the parking lot, dropping of the now even more used interpretive brochure for the next users. It is a good dose of tree.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 11 September 2017

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