“You shall walk where only the wind has walked before; and when all the music is stilled, you shall hear the singing of the stream and enter the living shelter of the forest.” – John Baldwin
The living shelter found within Redwoods National and State Parks is like no other. The lush emerald vegetation interwoven with delicate fog feels enchanted. Dappled golden-gray light cuts through the treetops in a quiet way. The forest is still. So still. You can’t help but pause and crane your neck upwards, standing in awe at the gnarled giant trees that seem to reach the clouds.
We recently visited the Redwoods for the first time and it was truly spectacular. We adventured in the park for three days and found ourselves longing to stay. We had some wonderful experiences and found some new favorite places–of which we wanted to share!
We camped at Jedediah Smith Campground, which borders the Jedediah Smith River. We ventured down to the river a couple of times to walk along the rocky shoreline, skip rocks, and listen to the movement of the water. With our tent nestled amongst the timber, we found ourselves falling asleep to the sound of the river each night. It was peaceful to live among the trees for a few days.
Spending time immersed in the forest was fascinating. As we walked along trodden paths there was an overwhelming feeling of serenity by being surrounded with layers of life. Redwoods stretched high, ferns grew in lush pockets, nurse logs supported new growth. While various groves shared similarities, we were surprised to find that each place we visited felt like it had its own personality. The trees we visited in Stout Grove felt rich, vibrant, poised, and striking. While the trees we encountered in the Grove of Titans felt…well, like titans–ancient, polypheme, and knotted. As we hiked Miner’s Ridge we met trees that while still incredibly huge and gothic, felt more unassuming and inviting. The trees felt personified in many ways and we mused at what they might say to us given the opportunity.
The forest is so dense that much of the sunlight throughout the day is obscured. Our Squak Hoodies provided the perfect layer that kept us comfortably warm as we explored the chilly woods. Their lightweight fabric was an excellent layer for a cool morning walk or a longer day hike.
On one such hike, we trekked through miles of forest to the incredible Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon sits tucked back from Gold Bluff Beach, and it's exactly how it sounds…a canyon composed of ferns. Walking through the canyon, we were surrounded by ferns that scale the walls–vibrant in color and trickling with water. Vastly different from the canyons we’re used to seeing here in Utah, it was remarkable!
On our last evening in the park, we spent some time walking along the charcoal beach of False Klamath Cove. We sat on some driftwood and watched the powerful ocean beat against the outcroppings of rocks. Contrasted to the quiet stillness of the woods, here felt wild and loud. We pulled out a small sketchbook to capture the moment.
Not only were we impressed by the scenery, but also by the interesting symbolism we found in the woods. While Redwood trees grow hundreds of feet tall, their root depth is typically no more than ten or so feet deep. Instead of depth, their roots stretch out wide and interlock with the roots of other trees. This creates an incredible network of strength, growth, and community. Like Redwoods, we need community to thrive. Perhaps you’ve felt some sense of community through Squak Mountain Co. Your community might be composed of your family, friends, and neighbors. Maybe you’re still trying to find what community looks like for you. Regardless of where you’re at, we encourage you to foster connections–help, serve, listen, grow. As we stay rooted in community–in people–our lives can be strengthened and vastly enriched.
From the beautiful ranks of trees to the limber ferns to the compelling ocean, our time in the Redwoods was absolutely amazing. If you ever get the opportunity to go, take it! And don’t forget to bring your Squak!