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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

I’ve been a tree-lover most of my life. The observation of, and communion with trees has added much pleasure to my existence. So when it became clear that a trip from my home in Seattle to the San Francisco Bay area was in the near future, I decided to drive and see some sights along the way. I planned to do a large portion of the drive on Highway 101, the Pacific Coast Highway. The number one place to visit was anywhere I could see a forest of ancient redwood trees. They grow in more than a few locations, mostly in California; so I needed to do some research. I very quickly focused on The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, just south of the Oregon border. That is where these photographs of the redwoods and the Smith River were taken. The park has many trails through the mighty trees, and campsites, too. One could spend days enjoying the incredible beauty of just this one forest.

Most of these pictures were taken in one particular grove of trees, the Stout Memorial Grove which covers 44 acres of pristine forest. In 1929, Clara W. Stout, widow of lumberman Frank D. Stout, donated this tract of old-growth redwood forest to the Save the Redwoods League. She did this in memory of her late husband. Stout Grove then became the first dedicated grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It is considered by many to be the heart of this California state park. The grove is accessed by driving east on Highway 199 from Crescent City, CA and turning right onto the South Fork Road east of Gasquet. This turns into the unpaved, one-lane Howland Road. You take this adventurous drive for about five miles to the parking area. The potholes lining the route and the narrowness of the road force the sensible driver to not exceed 5 or 10 mph. Even at that speed, I was concerned about breaking an axle; but to my relief, made it successfully to the parking area, and then back to the highway on our departure. I had the time and energy for one full day to experience the majesty of the redwood trees; and the visit to Stout Grove and the Smith River was a day well-spent.

Enjoy the slideshow.

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