The Life of Afrodite “Things To Do In Cali” Mini-Series.
I am very much a homebody.
I’m no nature girl. My idea of getting out in nature is going to our local Botanical Gardens. LOL. For. Real. I’m not into hiking at all, because…mountains. They can be breathtaking, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I love the ocean as well (or in it, if the temp is right), but there’s something about breathing in that scent of the earth.
And there’s nothing more inspiring than the trees in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve. When Mr. Ex and I were researching things to do in Cali, this was one of the things that popped up.
And I jumped on that.
We live in the desert, so getting a chance to see really tall, thousand year-old trees? Yes please.
I liked the idea of being in a forest and being surrounded by lush greenery. I honestly believe that I would be out in nature more if I lived in a greener state.
But I digress.
A Little History About the Park
During the 1870's, this area was set aside as a natural park and botanical garden by Colonel James Armstrong, a lumberman who recognized the beauty and natural value of the forests he harvested. After his death, Armstrong's daughter and the Le Baron family mounted an energetic campaign involving public meetings, rallies and car-caravans to direct public attention to the need to preserve this last remnant of the once mighty redwood forest.
Their efforts were successful, and in 1917 the County of Sonoma passed an initiative to purchase the property for $80,000. The grove was managed by Sonoma County until 1934 when the State took over. In 1936 the grove was opened to the public as Armstrong Redwoods State Park.
The grove's status was changed to a reserve in 1964 when a greater understanding of its ecological significance prompted a more protective management of the resource.
Source | California Dept of Park and Recreation
A Little History About The Trees
Armstrong Redwoods preserves stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. The ancient coast redwood is the tallest living thing on our planet! These remarkable trees live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive to over 2,000 years and tower above 350 feet. The reserve includes a visitor center, large outdoor amphitheater, self-guided nature trails, and a variety of picnic facilities.
The Tallest Tree
The Parson Jones Tree is the tallest tree in the grove, measuring more than 310 feet in height. This is longer than the length of a football field. An easy 0.1 mile walk from the park entrance.
The Oldest Tree
The Colonel Armstrong Tree is the oldest tree in the grove, estimated to be over 1,400 years old. It is named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s. This magnificent tree is located within an easy half-mile walk from the park entrance.
The Icicle Tree
This tree shows the unusual burl formations often found on redwood trees. Burls can weigh many tons and grow hundreds of feet above the forest floor. Why these growths occur remains a mystery.
Source | California Department of Parks and Recreation
This forest of redwoods was Ah.May.Zing.
Majestic places like this, where everything is bigger and taller than you, forces you to think about your existence. I am constantly amazed at what Mother Nature produces. We paid the $8 per car fee to drive through it. We weren’t looking to do a lot of walking.
After getting the map of the place, though, I’m thinking we should’ve parked in the bigger parking lot and walked in. There were smaller parking lots within the Reserve, but those were full up and we wasted time waiting for a spot that never opened up, when we could’ve been tree-gazing.
The roads were narrow and a little confusing to drive. It took a few minutes for us to figure out which road would lead back to the exit. Along the way, we managed to pull off to the side to get a couple of shots. The minute I saw these trees, I yelled “STOP! We need to get pictures of these!”
Don’t they just scream Harry Potter? Hagrid’s humble abode would’ve been right at home up in there.
Or even Chronicles of Narnia? Spare Oom! Granted, that was a closet, but this forest was fucking perfect for Azlan.
What about that scene in the forest from The Walking Dead where Carl and Enid shared their first kiss? No? Yeah, no, I was thinking more along the lines of the Harry Potter thing anyway.
IF YOU GO:
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
17000 Armstrong Woods Road
Guerneville, CA 95446
8:00 AM to one
hour after official sunset.
Day Use Fees:
$8.00 per vehicle
$7.00 per vehicle for seniors
Free to pedestrians and bicyclists
Bus fee for 10-24 passengers is $50.00
Black goddess musings on life and becoming a sustainably-conscious human being.