Majestic Trees In Northern California
Armstrong Redwoods is the perfect place for a picnic, for peace and quiet, for mediation, for being amazed at God’s handiwork or to just get a good tree hug.
I’ve been there twice in the last couple of years and it’s a place I’m so “at home” in. With the most majestic, old, towering trees above me, I feel sheltered from the world with Mother Nature wrapping her arms around me. I feel closer to God.
One would expect to hear many birds and see the flit from tree branch to tree branch with families of squirrels scampering around but oddly enough, it’s very quiet. I didn’t see but a bird here or there and didn’t see any other wildlife.
I asked the park ranger why there weren’t more birds. He explained it had to do with food sources. There are a few birds that can handle the redwoods habitat and they do live there, however, it’s nothing like what you’d expect.
The reserve is in a temperate rain forest. The climate is mild and wet. The park receives an average of 55 inches of rainfall per year, almost all between September and June. Abundant fog during the summer months helps to maintain the moist conditions required by the coast redwoods.
The Armstrong Redwoods is not a place to rush. It truly beckons you to quiet your spirit and stand in awe of nature. When you look at this pictures, can you sense that?
Armstrong Redwoods Explained Root Systems
I was amazed to learn that redwoods have a shallow root system, no more than 12 feet deep. Their roots extend out to 150 feet from the base, interlocking with roots from neighboring trees, which provide strength and stability.
When learning this, it reminded me of how together as families and friends all helping each other through life, that we create strong bonds and can get through anything.
The Colonel Armstrong – Oldest Redwood in the Grove
The Colonel Armstrong Tree is the oldest tree in the grove, estimated to be over 1400 years old. It’s named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870’s. It’s a half-mile easy walk from the park entrance.
It’s not possible to get a picture of the entire tree. It’s sure beautiful!
The trail leading to Colonel Armstrong
Armstrong Redwoods – The Icicle Tree
The Icicle 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.
Armstrong Redwoods – The Parson Jones 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. It’s located about 0.058-mile easy walk from the park entrance
Armstrong Redwoods – Those Who Preserved For Us To Enjoy
Meet James B. Armstrong and Lizzie Armstrong Jones
Below, look at these massive strips of bark laying elegantly across the forest floor.
Below, my cousin, mom and sister giving the viewer the idea of just how big around this tree is. Coming face to face with majestic and ancient redwoods is so different than just reading about them in geography books or watching a documentary on them. You just can’t grasp the magnitude of their size and beauty until you try and wrap your arms around one or attempt to see the top of the tree. You cannot do either.
My cousin and mom… just had to toss this in for my own enjoyment
Below, I thought this beautiful web was spectacular piece of weave
Below, these quiet, peaceful, easy to trek trails calls you to slow down and look around, look up, take in a breath of fresh air.
Below, three big drops of beautiful sap.
Armstrong Redwoods National Park History
Wiki says this:
During the 1870’s the area was set aside as a natural park and botanical garden by Colonel James Armstrong. 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 operated by Sonoma County until 1934 when the state of California took over.
In 1936 the grove was opened to the public as Armstrong Redwoods State Park. The grove’s status was changed to a natural reserve in 1964 when a greater understanding of its ecological significance prompted a more protective management of the resource.
Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve was one of 48 California state parks proposed for closure in January 2008 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program. By May 2008 a temporary reprieve was granted, but the park’s future is still uncertain.
I can’t imagine this park closing and going to waste. The thought of that makes me sick and sad. If you’re anywhere near Armstrong Redwoods, take the time to go walk through, even if it’s for a few minutes.
You’ll find a visitor center, outdoor amphitheater, self-guided nature trails, picnic tables and restrooms for your convenience. Next to the picnic area is posted information about ‘reading trees’. I found it fascinating.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures and learning a bit more about the Armstrong Redwoods. This was a family outing during my week long stay at the WorldMark Winsdor in Sonoma Valley. I don’t even think it was a 30 minute drive to get there.
Contact Information for Armstrong Redwoods
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Okay my friends, leave me a comment and let me know about your experiences with Redwoods and I’ll see you in the forests of the world!
Go Hug A Tree!