Oregon Coast Redwoods 10-Oct-2016

Oregon Coast Redwoods

This weather forecast was calling for rain by the end of the week, with up to 10 inches in 24 hours predicted for places on the Southern Oregon Coast (a forecast that has since been upgraded to “…more than the typical rainfall for the entire month of October, and for the Medford airport, could be the wettest 5 day period in October since 1962…” {the year of the infamous Columbus Day Storm}).  With this ominous prognostication in mind, we decided to make a run for the coast and do a couple of short, but unique, hikes that had been on the edge of our to do list for awhile.

The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), the tallest tree in the world (trees can reach 377 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 30 feet), grows in natural stands in a long, thin coastal area approximately 470 miles long and 5 to 47 miles wide along the Pacific coast of the United States. The most southerly grove is in Monterey County, California, and the most northerly groves are in extreme southwestern Oregon, just outside of Brookings, Oregon.  Having made several visits to coast redwoods in California, we decided it was time to visit Oregon’s small patch of these giants.  This was easy to do since the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has built the Oregon Redwoods Trail (USFS #1106) along Peavine Ridge in the Winchuck River drainage through a grove of these majestic old-growth coast redwood trees.  This is hike #95 in Sullivan’s Oregon Coast and Coast Range travel/hiking guide (3rd Edition).  After leaving U.S. Highway 101 six miles south of Brookings, and driving four miles of bumpy, but 2WD drive passable, gravel road (Forest Road 1101), we reached the trailhead (ample parking and a pit toilet).  The #1106 was designed to be barrier-free (i.e., a wide travel-way, acceptable grades, and crushed aggregate tread surfacing) and is thus very easy hiking, which is good because then you are less likely to trip over yourself as you gaze upward in awe of these giant trees!

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Starting along the Oregon Redwood Trail (#1106)

Very soon, we came to the junction of the #1106 and the #1107, a longer loop trail that is not wheelchair accessible like the #1106.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Junction of Oregon Redwood Trails #1106 and #1107

We took the #1107 and began a descent into a mixed forest of large Douglas fir trees and even larger coast redwoods.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Along the #1107

These are BIG trees – maybe not as big as their compatriates in California’s redwood parks – but still BIG (for scale, the LovedOne is just over 5 feet tall).

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
One of the big coast redwoods

We continued down and along through stands of different species of tree, all very tall and very straight.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Further along the #1107

At the low point on the #1107, we crossed a small drainage, still with some water in it,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
A small stream along the #1107

and then started a brief climb back up past yet more big redwoods,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Another big one

but taking time to notice some of the small foliage on the forest floor,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
A small fern on the forest floor

before gawking at yet another big tree,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Yep, another big one

and then appreciating a small sword fern.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
A sword fern on the forest floor

Many of the Douglas fir trees along this stretch of trail are over 3 feet in diameter, which would make them noteworthy if they were growing anywhere else. But here, among the larger coast redwoods, they are just another “small” tree.  The #1107 circles back and up, and rejoins the #1106 at a picnic table just before the hollow snag of a 12 foot in diameter redwood,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
The 12 foot in diameter, now hollow, redwood snag

which you can now walk in to,

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Inside the hollow redwood snag

and look up at the sky (sort of).

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Looking at the sky from inside the hollow tree

After that, it was back to the trailhead on the #1106.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
The accessible #1106 toward the trailhead

A short hike for us (1.8 miles round trip; 350 feet of elevation gain) but well worth it to see and marvel at Oregon’s only stand of magnificent coast redwood trees. It is almost beyond comprehension that you would destroy these venerable giants, yet an estimated 70% or more of ancient old-growth redwood trees have been displaced by environmental changes or cut down. We can’t help but think here’s going to be price to be paid for this foolishness and that it’s likely to be a steep (and unpleasant) one.

Oregon Coast Redwoods Humbug Mountain
Our brief, but spectacular, hike amongst the redwoods

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3 thoughts on “Oregon Coast Redwoods 10-Oct-2016

  1. Your misty pictures are gorgeous! I’ve been trying to sell a few of mine on Foap. Not sure if it’s going to be profitable, but it can’t hurt. I’ve yet to get to Oregon, but it’s on my list.

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