If you haven’t yet snagged it, be sure to pick up a copy of the October issue of National Geographic Magazine for their incredible cover story about National Geographic explorer-in-residence Michael Fay’s 11-month journey walking through the Redwoods, from Big Sur to just beyond the Oregon border. I read it last night, and this paragraph alone captivated me:
Fording a vein of emerald water known as the South Fork of the Eel, they climbed the far bank and entered the translucent shade of the most magnificent grove they’d seen yet. Redwoods the size of Saturn rockets sprouted from the ground like giant beanstalks, their butts blackened by fire. Some bore thick, ropy bark that spiraled skyward in candy-cane swirls. Others had huge cavities known as goose pens–after the use early pioneers put them to–big enough to hold 20 people.
Treetops the size of VW buses lay half-buried among the sorrel and sword ferns, where they’d plummeted from 30 stories up–the casualties of titanic wars with the wind, which even now coursed through the tops with panpipe-like creaks and groans. It’s no wonder Steven Spielberg and George Lucas filmed scenes for the Jurassic Park sequel and Return of the Jedi among the redwood giants: It felt as if a T. rex or a furry Ewok could poke its head out at any minute.
The Redwoods also happen to be featured in the latest issue of Traveler, as one our “50 Places of a Lifetime.” In his essay, author Richard Preston notes that “when I’m in the Redwoods, I always get the sense that time is slowing down, slowing almost to the point where it hardly seems to exist as an influence in one’s life. If human time is a fast-running brook, redwood time is a deep, dreaming river.” You can find the entire essay in our October issue, on newsstands now.
Have you experienced the Redwoods yourself? If you have, share your experiences. And if you haven’t (and even if you have) click through for a glimpse at the spectacular photo collage of 84 images that Michael Nichols created of one of the tallest trees. It’s an insert in the latest issue of National Geographic, and you can see more spectacular images here.
Above Photo: ©2009 Michael Nichols/National Geographic Staff
©2009 Michael Nichols / National Geographic Staff / Mosaic composed of 84 images