Neighborhood Exploration

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Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

I often hear people say something like, “I only take the time to explore my own neighborhood when I have company.”

Fortunately we have good friends who like to hike and take advantage of the beauty where we live. Travel is expensive so it just makes sense to sometimes explore your own area. Most places have interesting sites that visitors enjoy seeing. If you make an adventure out of it, with a group, looking around your own neighborhood can be very rewarding.

Not far from our home we have several state parks and a national park. People come from all over the world to see the coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). Our actual yard is filled with redwoods and they tower over our house. So, in general we don’t drive to the parks to see them.

But we have begun hiking the coastal and park trails with friends. We treat it like an adventure we were having in another country. We pack a lunch and make a day of it. It is certainly not an original idea, but we are asking ourselves why we haven’t done it more in the past.

There is certainly a reason why these parks were established. The redwoods in our yard, even though bigger than most trees, are second or third growth. In other words, they have grown back after one or two timber harvests. They are probably 50-80 years old and 80-100 feet (15-25 meters) tall.

The big trees in the parks near here are more than 325 feet (~100 meters) tall and simply massive. They grow in areas that have never been harvested, giving rise to the term “old growth”.

On our hikes we have met visitors who are standing and marveling at the trees. They are flabbergasted! To be honest I had forgotten what it felt like to see these giants for the first time. It was good to be reminded of that excitement.

These ancient trees are nice to have in the neighborhood!!

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