August 21, 2009

San Francisco - Big Basin

Of all the parks we visited and hiked in around San Francisco, Big Basin stands out as the most majestic, inspirational, and downright magical. The drive there was filled with adventure, as we twisted and turned on narrow roads through seemingly never ending forest, and nearly had a close encounter with a logging truck. The park facilities were charming, with a huge rustic lodge and visitors center, and the best park souvenir shop I've ever been in (and I have the souvenirs to prove it). Near the campgrounds was a stage and amphitheatre, with seats hewn from redwoods, and I can just imagine a ranger giving a presentation there.
The beginnings of the trail skirted a small lively stream, above, and led past this wonderfully sculptural snag, below:
Here's a shot of the texture on the snag, an example of "wavy" or "curly" lumber. It's the result of a harmless genetic condition, affecting less than 1% of all redwood trees. In the past it was not considered commercial valuable and was often discarded as defective.

Here I am standing in awe of "The Mother of the Forest", the park's tallest at 329 feet.

Here's an example of a ring of redwoods that grew up around an ancient, departed tree:

Here's a picture I'm rather pleased with; I clambered up on a log and posed to try and give a sense of scale to the enormity of the fallen tree:

Another perspective, from the far end of the fallen tree:

More fabulous texture, perhaps some sort of burl:

It was a good day.


Kristin L said...

What awesome trees! I think I was there more than 30 years ago -- somehow the amphitheater feels familiar.

Adrian LaRoque said...

Great post Sue, wonderful forest.
Thank you for all the comments.

kathy york said...

More fun than TV tonight. Thanks! They just don't grow like that in Austin.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics! I feel like I was and trees go together like a hand and glove.