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Journeys : April May 2009
Where are the world’s tallest living things? from northern California to Oregon. In Redwoods National Park, just over five hundred kilometres north of San Francisco, the temperate climate, high rainfall and even the sea fog help to produce an environment that elevates giant coast redwoods to lofty heights not reached anywhere else on the planet – although Tasmania’s Eucalyptus regnans is not far behind the redwoods in height and can lay claim to being the world’s tallest hardwood tree. Redwoods are conifers, so our island’s mighty swamp gums are also the tallest flowering plants on Earth. T And just as some of Tasmania’s tallest hardwoods are accessible by car, in the Styx Valley and the Mt Field National Park (see our story on page 64) so are the redwoods – perhaps even more so. From hey’re in the USA, in a narrow sliver of land bordering the Pacific Ocean either Crescent City north of the National Park or Eureka to the south, Highway 101 provides a comfortable avenue to the great sights the redwoods have to offer. In fact, Highway 101 runs through the national park itself. Driving beneath the redwoods is an awe-inspiring experience, not just due to the majestic trees, but because the fog, the sun and the resultant lengthy shadows all combine to produce an eerie atmosphere. There are many highlights for touring motorists in Redwoods National Park. Lady Bird Johnson Grove is a 500-metre walking circuit of old-growth redwoods dedicated by Richard Nixon in 1969 to the previous President’s wife. Not far away, off the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, is the Big Tree. A short stroll brings you to the massive trunk of the tree, which spears upward for almost 93 metres. However the principal attraction in Redwoods National Park is the Tall Trees Trail, a collection of some of the world’s tallest trees. The Tall Trees Trail can only be accessed by an unpaved road and an entry permit is required. To keep traffic at a safe minimum, only fifty permits are issued daily on a first-come, first-served basis. The good news is that the permits are easy to obtain from the National Park’s office in Orick, they are free and the unpaved road is in good order. The sting for some might be in the tail, because to wander and wonder at the world’s tallest trees there is a five-kilometre circuit walk at the end of the road. The final highlights for motorists are of course the ‘drive-through’ trees. Visitors never seem to tire of photographing their car driving through the gap in the trunk of a coast redwood. There are no such trees within the park itself, but there are at least three in the vicinity, just off Highway 101 – enough to satisfy all photographic whims. Further appreciation for these monoliths is gained when one realises that not only are they the world’s tallest living things but also they can live up to two thousand years of age. Therefore the final word about them should come from an ancient Greek philosopher, Epictetus, who lived in the first century A.D. He was talking about the world in general but could well have been referring to the redwoods in particular when he said ‘No great thing is created suddenly.’ Pickles Auctions For real peace of mind, purchase an RACT roadworthy inspected vehicle. Government & Fleet vehicle auction Fixed Price Sales Saturday 10am to 1pm and Monday 8am to 4.30pm 56 Sunderland Street, Derwent ParK 7009 Ph: (03) 6108 8444 April / May 09 15 See your local paper every Saturday for over 80 vehicles. Or for a detailed listing and photographs of vehicles visit our website. www.pickles.com.au
June July 2009
June July 2008