Travelling north we encountered the first Sequoia trees or Redwoods. The redwoods in this area are commonly called "Coast Redwood" and they are the tallest trees in the world. The biggest trees can be up to 115 meter high and have a diameter at the base of up to 7 meters.
From Santa Rosa, in the morning, we hit the highway 101 again to Eureka, totally 181 miles. We drove thru the winery area and the fruit orchard. Both side of the road were green and shady, and in this tranquility small houses pop up all the way. At some point we saw few local shops selling fruit, decorated with several colorful fruit. We took a small brake at one shop for some apple, such a various variety of apple they have; Red gold, Red delicious, Golden delicious, Jona gold, Mc Intosh, Spritzenberg and Pink ladies. Also the prunes, raspberries, different variety of pears, yellow peaches, dark red grape, different kind and shape of pumpkins, corn in a different color, garlic and red onion. I try the pink ladies, smallest apple in my life I have ever seen, just a few bites, and the Mc Intosh. I love both of them; fresh, crunchy and sweet-sour flavor, and the dark red grapes are very tasty. If u drive passes this route don’t waste the time to make decision to visit them.
We now drove into the Redwood District and I realized that the trees along 2 side of this road are bigger than before. We got excited by realize that these must be the red wood trees, the oldest tree in the world, which we were looking for. We pull the car off the road for some snap shots. I look up to the tip of the tree, I feel like a small ant under the ancient towering wood. This ancient creature has an average age between 500 to 700 years old and height is 61-76 meters (200-250 feet), but the old-growth coast redwoods can live to be more than 2000 years old and reach a height of over 91 meters (300 feet).
The redwood tree named “Hyperion” was confirmed, in 2006, to be the world’s tallest living tree. Hyperion is found on a hillside in Northern California and has a height of 115.55 meters (379.1 feet). Hyperion’s location is one of California’s best kept secrets for the sake of respecting the tree’s surrounding ecosystem. About 160 years ago the redwood forest covered two million acres. It is pity that nowadays we have less than 4 percent left.
Our first destination we had planed for today is the Chandelier Drive-thru Tree, just after Mendocino District. On the left of the high way 101 you will see a signboard point to the Drive Thru Tree Park. While you are driving in you will notice all of the roads in the Park are dirt roads, they are paved with “nature’s speed bumps”. We drove slowly, under the arms of the giants, to enjoy the beauty and varied plant. The road finally brought us to the big hole, approximately 6′ wide by 6’9″ high, at the bottom part of the enormous tree which is maximum age 2,400 years. This tree was carved in the 1930’s.
The Chandelier Tree derives name from the enormous branches balanced on either side of the trunk, a three-armed candelabra like. These branches, which are the size of small trees, begin about a hundred feet up the trunk. There is not much things to do here, just a small park with only 1 main attraction – the drive thru tree, so we drove thru this tree for a few times, made some photos with the big trunks and visited the souvenir shop which is in the park center office, behind the drive thru tree.
We drove away back to Highway 101 again heading to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park without knowing there is another beautiful scenic byway, 31-mile stretch on old Highway 101, parallel to Freeway 101, calls an “Avenue of the Giants”. The Avenue of the Giants was started from Phillipsville and finish at Pepperwood. The map shows plenty of camp sites, nature trails, and many activities to do, for example; fishing, boating, swimming, hiking and skiing, along the road. Also many tourist attractions such as drive-thru tree, tree house, woodworks shop and horse camp.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the second place we had visit. It is the California’s third largest state park, occupying 53,000 acres, including 17,000 acres of old growth redwoods. The park is rarely crowded, and offers more than hundreds of miles of trails. Near the parking, there is the easy trail where you can learn about the nature and characteristic of the redwood. A long the trail I met only few small groups walking quietly within the wooden fence, while I was observing the twisted red wood, which caught by wind long time ago but still standing there. Another one tree looks so strange, the small tree grow on the big tree but no root, the other way to multiply the tree of the red wood. Some tree has a very big hole inside, it was explain on the board that the red wood tree has a very thick bark and resistant to the fire but the inside burns away leaving a small cave inside the tree. We then left the park heading to Eureka.
By the end of this day we reached the small port town of Eureka where we would spend two nights to have time for visits to more Redwoods tomorrow. Goto Day 5.