Largest Tree: 1600 years old
225 feet high, 13 feet diameter
Memorial Park, San Mateo
Chapter 2:

Lambda Λ

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Platonic Lambda Λ Backside
of Old Tree, 1200 years old
Portola Redwoods, La Honda

Preface: After finishing "Mountains" as the first chapter of my book Platonic Lambda: Soul of the Universe, focused on "Redwoods" as the second chapter. Checked out a library copy of "Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast". Also found a Wikipedia article on "Sequoia sempervirens". Instead of citing Redwoods writings by others, feel it's better to write about memorable Redwoods encountered on hike trails, since they are my personal experiences. Looked through hike photos folders (2006-2018) and rounded up images of Redwoods (402), Goosepens (79), and Platonic Λ Shapes (32). Will select most interesting photos and discuss my memories of them.

From a tiny seed it grows to over 300 feet high, and lives over 2000 years, Coast Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens— world's tallest living miracle! The photo at left, a redwood cone (1) holds between 14 and 24 seeds. The seeds are
so tiny that over 100,000 seeds would weigh one pound. Redwoods bear seeds when 5-10 years old. One tree can produce six million seeds in a year, but less than 5% of them germinate (2). Tallest tree in the world is the Hyperion, 379.7 feet tall (3). It was discovered August 25, 2006 by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. The tree was found in a remote area of Redwood National and State Parks (4). The Park also houses the second tallest tree Helios, & the third tallest Icarus. Stephen Sillett estimates Hyperion to be 600 years old while others report it to be roughly 700-800 years old. The exact location of Hyperion is kept in secret to prevent vandalism. Steve A. Hall has documented his discoveries of the world's 8 tallest trees over 370 feet (5). In her April 26, 2018 report, Melissa Breyer lists "10 of the tallest trees in the world" (6) with Hyperion at 380.3 feet ranked as #1. She has an interesting web page "11 facts about coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world' (7) that's worth exploring. Fact #4: Redwood roots only extend down 6-12 feet. But what they lack in depth, they make up for in breadth. Extending up to 100 feet from the tree's base, they intertwine with roots of others, all holding on to each other, greatly increasing their stability. Fact #5: Fog accounts for around 40 percent of the redwoods' moisture intake. Fact #6: Redwoods are so big that when scarred by fire, cavities can form that are large enough to once be used to house geese by settlers. To this day, the scar caves are called "goose-pens." Interesting that Robert Van Pelt's "Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast" (2001) does not mention "Goosepen" in his book, even though photos show giant "fire scar" in the Ishi Giant, Franklin, Stagg, and Lincoln Sequoias (8).
(1) Portland Parks on Redwood Cone,
(2) Natalie Hemmerich,
(3) Elizabeth Howell,
(4) Hyperion Redwood: Tallest Tree,
(5) Steve Hall,
(6) Melissa Breyer,
(7) Melissa Breyer,
(8) Robert Van Pelt, Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast (2001)

Memorable Encounters with Giant Coast Redwoods on Nature Hikes (2008-2012)

  Thornewood Redwood at Thornewood Preserve, Woodside, CA (9-1-2008 & 9-19-2010)

Thornewood Redwood Sentinel

Bottom of Redwood Sentinel

Mid-Section of Redwood Sentinel

Top of Redwood Sentinel

Came to Thornewood Preserve, Woodside, on September 1, 2008 via Old La Honda Road entrance, and on September 19, 2010 via
the Bridle Trail. The 167-acre Thornewood Open Space Preserve is rich in history, and includes site of historic Thornewood estate.
San Franciscan Julian Thorne bought Woodside property in 1908, & in the 1920s architect Gardner Dailey built Thornewood house.
Thorne retained his estate and sold the remaining acreage to August Schilling of the Schilling Spice Company, for whom Schilling Lake is named. Schilling Lake is now filled with algae instead of swans swimming in it. From the Schilling Bench by the Lake, there is a tall Redwood with lower branches gone, but still soaring to the skies. There's a giant Redwood Sentinel gem here near the Lake, 30 feet in circumference. I always stop by to admire it reaching skyward, recalling Robert Browning's verse— "Ah! a man's reach should / exceed his grasp or / what is a heaven for!" ("Andrea del Sarto", line 98)

  Old-Growth Redwood in El Corte de Madera Creek, San Mateo County, CA (9-7-2008)

Old-Growth Redwood

Old-Growth Redwood

Old-Growth Redwood

Top of Redwood from Afar

On September 7, 2008, my friend drove to Skyline Boulevard by Bear Gulch Road where we went on a hike at El Corte De Madera Creek Open Space Preserve. Over 30 miles are available for exploration at this 2817-acre Preserve. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders will enjoy the creekside trails. There is an Old Growth Redwood in the Timberview Trail that's so tall, its top can't be seen unless one is afar. Left photo shows "Scars of Old Growth Redwood" with its wounds as loggers attempt to chop it down. Right photo shows Platonic Λ-shaped goosepen at this Redwood's bottom.

  Advocate Tree, Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos, CA (9-6-2009)

Advocate Tree, Marcel's Forest

Advocate Tree Trunk

Advocate Tree Soaring to the Skies

Advocate Tree to the Skies

Hike on the Old Growth Loop at Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos, on Sept. 6, 2009, took almost five hours (1:55-6:45 pm). This Park contains over 40 miles of rugged semi-wilderness hiking trails rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2600 feet. Park was named for Nisene Marks, a passionate nature lover and mother of a Salinas farming family that purchased the land from lumber companies who clear-cut the redwoods during a 40-year logging frenzy (1883-1923). This land was donated to the state by the Marks family in 1963. The epicenter of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was in this park. The hike's highlight was the Advocate Tree in Marcel's Forest that's 253 feet tall, 45 feet in circumference and over a millenium years old. We stayed 30 minutes (4:44-5:15 pm) admiring this Redwood giant. Wrote a poem "The Advocate Tree" when it fell during the January 16, 2017 rainstorm.

  Oldest Redwood at Memorial Park, San Mateo County, CA (8-16-2009 & 8-23-2009)

Oldest Redwood Standing Straight

Sunlight on Oldest Redwood

Redwood framed by V-gap of Neighbor

Crown of Oldest Redwood

Hiked San Mateo Memorial Park where old-growth redwood forests have been favorite camping grounds for generations. This park has trails, campsites, group camps, visitor center, & 499 acres to explore. Acquired by the County in 1924, this is its oldest park. It is dedicated to the San Mateo County servicemen who died in World War I. We began hiking at the Wurr Road bridge to the 1.5 mile Creek Trail that meandered along the Pescadero Creek. With a constant view of the babbling creek and overlaying canopy of trees growing above, it is one of the most scenic trails I've been on. Near the Old Swimming Hole, there is the largest and oldest Tree, a towering Redwood, that is 1600 years old, 225 feet tall, 13 feet in diameter, snd 39 feet in circumference.

  Methuselah Tree at El Corte de Madera Creek, Skyline Boulevard, CA (9-27-2009)

Methuselah Tree to the Skies

Bottom of Methuselah Tree

Burl on Methuselah Tree

Methuselah Tree

On September 27, 2009, my friend Connie took me to the Methuselah Tree on Skyline Boulevard. Since we just saw the 1600 year-old, 225 feet tall, 13 feet wide Largest Tree at Memorial Park (August 16 & 23, 2009), and the 253 feet tall, 14.3 feet wide Advocate Tree at Forest of Nisene Marks Park (September 6, 2009), it would be nice to revisit the Methuselah Tree and compare it with these giants. This Methuselah Tree— 14 feet wide, 225 feet tall, 1800 years old, seems larger than the other giants. We stayed half an hour admiring this old giant Redwood (2:45-3:16 pm). Justin Garland, Redwoods Program Manager has written "The Story of An Old-Growth Redwood" on the Methuselah Tree, outlining its history from 217 AD to the present. Outside the trees in Big Basin State Park, the Methuselah is the oldest and largest living tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

  Portola Redwoods State Park, La Honda, San Mateo County, CA (7-1-2012)

Bottom of Old Tree (1200 years old)

Middle of Old Tree (14.6 feet wide)

Top of Old Tree (305 feet tall)

Platonic Lambda Λ Backside of Old Tree

Visited Portola Redwoods State Park five times (June 10, 17, July 1, 4, 29, 2012) and took photos of 100 Redwoods and 62 Goosepens. On July 1, 2012, at end of Old Tree Trail was the Old Tree standing 280 feet tall, 12 feet wide, and 1200 years old (Left: Coast Redwoods Info). At 5 pm, we met Steve & Zane Moore (father & son) who had hiked since 5:30 am around Portola Redwoods State Park. They had laser beam gadget
to measure tall coastal redwoods, and informed us that the Old Tree is now 305.38 feet tall & 14.61 feet wide. It grew 2 feet since two years ago. Right: Bottom of Old Tree.

  Neighborhood Redwoods, Rengstorff Ave & Montebello Ave, Mountain View, CA (2018)

Sprouting Twig from Redwood
Montebello Ave

Top of Redwood Sentinel
Montebello Ave

"Three Graces" Redwoods
Montebello Ave

"Three Graces" Redwoods
1981 Montecito Ave

Redwood Top
Rengstorff Park
My best friend Connie who took me to hundreds of hikes on Redwood trails (above photos) passed on September 9, 2016 (poem). After our hike on July 1, 2012 at Portola Redwood, wrote a poem "Coast Redwoods" (10-28-2012). Now, there are Redwoods in the neighborhood that I stop by and pray for blessings on "longevity, durability, strength, and wisdom". After finding 3 giant Redwoods next to each other on Montebello Ave, wrote poem "Three Graces on Montebello Ave" (2-11-2018). After this poem was written, noticed three more Redwoods bunched together across the street from Hackett Ave, while waiting for Bus #34. On Sunday, August 19, 2018, went to Waverley Writers Potluck Party, that I've not gone for some 20 years. It was hosted by Mary Marcia at 3730 Redwood Circle. When a friend dropped me off at the corner of Carlson and Redwood Circle, I took a photo of the Redwood signpost. Two days later, took photo of Redwood Villa across the street where I live. It seems that "Redwood" is following me while writing this chapter on them, and I feel their blessings.
Redwood Signpost
Palo Alto

  Tragic Wildfires at Big Basin Redwoods State Park (August 2020)

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Santa Cruz County, California

Fallen Coast Redwood
Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Wildfires at Big Basin
(August 21-28, 2020)

Big Basin Headquarters
Consumed by Wildfire (8-21-2020)

Mother of the Forest Saved
Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Little Basin Destroyed (Hewitt & Packard
entertained HP employees here in summer)

Fire Burning Coast Redwood
at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwood Tree Rings
in Hitchcock's 1958 Vertigo film gone

News Articles on Wildfires at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
'It's Hard to See Your Memories Burn': Loss From Wildfires Grows in California
(The 118-year-old state park, California's oldest— has been devastated.
Its giant trees were the backdrop in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 Vertigo film
as Kim Novak strolled with James Stewart. Its headquarters, a one-story
building built in 1936 from stone and redwood logs is now gone.)
(By Shawn Hubler & Kellen Browning, NY Times, 8-21-2020)
California Fires: Bolts and Blazes
(Earlier this month an estimated 11,000 lightning strikes in California ignited 370 fires, with
23 becoming major fires; In-cloud lightning, cloud-to-cloud lightning, cloud-to-ground
lightning, spider lightning; 15 California Fires; Odds being hit by lightning: 1 in 1.2 million)
(By Kurt Snibbe, Mercury News, 8-30-2020, B11)
Race to protect Big Basin's Mother, Father of the Forest, other ancient redwood trees after inferno
(Cherished Mother and "Father of the Forest" survived the blaze, but there are many big
redwoods whose bases were burned to the heart, and which could be toppled by a falling fir,
huge numbers of which were severely damaged because the species fares poorly in flames.)
(By Ethan Baron, Mercury News, 8-30-2020, B1, B4)
Fire destroys Little Basin Campground, a beloved part of Silicon Valley history
(Retreat in Santa Cruz Mountains was purchased by Bill Hewlett and David Packard in 1960s;
Bill and Dave served steaks and hamburgers off the grill for all the HP employees.)
(By Paul Rogers & Ethan Baron, Mercury News, 8-28-2020, A1, A6)
California fires: Burned redwoods at Big Basin, other parks will recover soon, experts say
(Redwoods are resilient. Anything with a diameter more than 3 inches survived. Only 25% of
Douglas fir trees survived. Most of the scorched black trees will begin sprouting green leaves
again by this winter. Redwood's ability to stand tall in face of floods, fires & other calamities
is how they live to be up to 2,000 years old. Sequoia Sempervirens = "ever-living Sequoia".)
(By Paul Rogers, Mercury News, 8-25-2020, A1, A5)

| Top of Page | Redwoods Hikes | Goosepens | Mountains | Platonic Lambda | Platonic Λ Contents |
| Walks 2018 | Poems 2018 | Haikus 2018 | CPITS | Books | Numbers | Enlightenment |
| Interesting News | Enlightenment News | Poetry News | A-Z Portals | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (9-2-2020)