California’s Super Trees

redwood_006.jpgIf 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


  1. herb
    January 19, 2013, 9:24 pm

    What’s football got to do with big trees??? I couldn’t give a rip. It’s a game. Nature is real.

  2. cheap ed hardy
    July 3, 2010, 7:51 am

    Have you ever got these jerseys?They are all great gears….
    The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional American football. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. The league currently consists of thirty-two teams from the United States. The league is divided evenly into two conferences — the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference has four divisions that have four teams each. The NFL is organized as an unincorporated association of its 32 teams. The NFL is by far the most attended domestic sports league in the world by average attendance per game, with 67,509 fans per game in the latest regular season (2009)

  3. Annie
    June 27, 2010, 10:59 am

    I just returned from a trip up to Humboldt county in the redwoods and saw this documentary on TV. I thought I would see if I could buy the poster….if it comes in the magazine for free, how can you charge $200 for a print?

  4. sajid
    June 14, 2010, 12:16 am

    amazing picture.. saw the documentary on nat geo and was bloan away !!!

  5. catalin
    January 9, 2010, 6:31 pm

    I would love to buy that as a poster but sadly I can’t find it in the NG shop.

  6. ProfessorNeslonMS
    September 25, 2009, 6:25 pm

    É a Natureza nos impressionando com sua beleza e seus fenômenos.
    Nelson (ProfessorNelsonMS)