Visiting the northern California Coast offers wonderful scenery, a powerful ocean, and the largest trees in the world. Sitting and watching the ocean wave crash against pillars of stone, and majestic cliffs is memorizing and I could do it all day long. The ocean blue, cool breeze in you face, the smell of salt in the air, the screeching of gulls, all come back to me as I post these photos. The coastline ranges from Point Arena in the south to just north of Rockport on Highway 1. then inland and north to the Avenue of Giants, a 31 mile meander through what has to be one of the most amazing displays of Redwoods available, and you are able to drive among the towering trees.
Lets start on the south end and Point Arena light house. The brick-and-mortar tower included ornate iron balcony supports, was built in 1870 and warns mariners of the sandbar which extends out to sea from the 1/2 mile peninsula, upon which the lighthouse is built. It was heavily damage by an earthquake in 1906 and subsequently rebuilt. It is one of the iconic coastal scenes.
Highway 1 extends all along the California coast, providing access to most of these wonderfully scenic seascapes. Early mornings are a treat as the fog and mist retreats.
At certain places valleys create a wind tunnel and the strong breeze blows the waves.
I never get tired of crashing waves. The thunder and spray, enveloping all.
The constant waves crash and form this landscape, ever eroding and sculpting. Always coming, only their intensity changes.
Many times the fog comes in off the Pacific ocean and nothing can be seen. Other times the fog clears and adds to the beauty of the area.
Sunsets are often rare sites, with the typical fog patterns, but the sinking sun is always a spectacle.
Nighttime clearing is also a blessing. its often hard to see the Milkyway with all the mist in the air but our cameras and log exposures help out.
The mighty redwoods are amazing to see, and if you've never seen them in person you really don't understand the size and magnitude of the living organisms. Some are 2000 years old, and can be taller than a football field is long. You can see photos, but its not until you walk up and stand next to (or inside) one that utter amazement is all you can feel.
Redwoods have survived hundreds (if not thousands) of fires because the tannin in redwood bark that makes redwoods red, combined with the thickness and fibrous nature of redwood bark, provides substantial fire resistance that allows redwoods to survive forest fires that burn down all the other trees around them.
However if there is a wound or damaged area, fires and other pests, can attackand decay the interior wood, creating openings. The bulk of water which the tree absorbs happens at the perimeter of the tree trunk near the bark. The greater concentration of water near the perimeter may also provide some fire resistance.
An acre of redwood forest sequesters more carbon as biomass than an acre of any other forest on earth—seven times as much as a tropical rain forest.
The hollowed insides of a redwood is call a goosepen, due to early settlers often using the opening to protect various livestock (including geese) from the elements. Today, most of the large hollows have become tourist attractions, such as the chimney tree below. This is a living tree that has a large room size area (12.5' diameter) at ground level and opening up to a point where lightning caused the upper part of the tree to collapse.