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On Walkabout at: The Trees of Mystery, California

After finishing up our drive along the northern California coast, my wife and I then pulled into the parking lot of the Trees of Mystery:

Locating the Trees of Mystery is easy because adjacent to the parking are two huge statues of Paul Bunyan and his ox babe that cannot be missed by anyone driving by on Highway 101:

The Paul Bunyan statue is 49 feet tall so it is quite huge.  The statue also had a moving head with someone with a speaker that would talk to people walking by.  Needless to say the kids had a blast with this larger than life statue.  I don’t know if the squirrels were enjoying the giant Paul Bunyan or not either, but it seems like there was as many squirrels running around as their were little kids:

Anyway the Trees of Mystery is a privately owned park located right between the Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park to the north and the Redwoods National Park to the south.  For being privately owned land it has an incredible amount of some of the most unusual redwood trees you will ever see.  The first of these trees can be seen from the parking lot is the Family Tree, which is a unique tree that shows the redwoods ability of having other trees sprout out and up from its branches:

Here is a closer look at this phenomenon:

There is plenty more incredible trees to see within the park for only a $14.00 admission that is worth every dollar.  A trail that is little less then a mile takes visitors to each of the unusual trees located within the park’s boundaries.  However, the beginning of the trail takes visitors through this nicely manicured garden:

The park does have a bit of a religious feel to it, which is quite evident by this statue of Saint Francis of Assisi:

Readers of this site may remember where I have run into Saint Francis of Assisi before.  Saint Francis is actually the patron saint of animals, which apparently the park has a lot of.  Does anyone know if their is a patron saint of trees?  Anyway enough of talking about patron saints, lets take a look at these incredible trees.  The first huge tree that we came upon was this tree known as the Elephant Tree for obvious reasons:

Here is a tree known as the Upside-Down Tree that is an extremely long tree that grows across the trail:

If you look closely to the bottom left of the photo this tree actually grows horizontal out of the base of a large redwood tree that grows vertical.  So this one tree has two trunks with one growing horizontal and the other vertical.  Extremely weird tree, but they don’t call these the Trees of Mystery for nothing. The next tree is known as the Nature’s Underpass due to the fact that the trail goes under the tree:

It was actually a tight squeeze for a big guy like me to fit through the opening underneath the tree, but I was able to pull it off.  Besides trees there was also a lot of wild flowers to be seen in the park such as these beautiful blue flowers:

Next we came upon the hulk of a massive tree that had long collapsed to the forest floor:

This tree is appropriately named the Fallen Giant since the tree’s length is measured at 320 feet.  However, this tree is far from dead because if you look closely small tree are growing out of the fallen trunk of this tree.  This is because even if a redwood tree falls over, it doesn’t necessarily die as long as some of its roots remains in the ground like this tree:

Something else I just happened to notice while visiting this Fallen Giant is that these trees were at one time featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not:

Believe me when I tell you that these trees are incredible.  Anyway, here is another example of one tree growing with two trunks, but this time they are both growing straight up right next to each other:

Besides the many unusual trees growing in the park there are many more typical redwoods of large size that grow in the park as well:

As amazing as all these trees are in this park, without a doubt the most incredible tree is the Cathedral Tree:

As I mentioned earlier these redwood trees can fall over but it doesn’t mean die and that is what happened with this tree.  Long ago a redwood fell over and these trees sprouted out of the log and grew straight up.  They may look like they are different trees, but they are all actually growing from the same tree:

Will the trees growing out of the Fallen Giant look like this one day as well?

Here is plaque located at the base of the Cathedral Tree:

The Cathedral Tree plays host to Easter Services every year and is also a very popular location for holding weddings.  Here is how the Cathedral Tree looks when standing at its base:

A short walk from the Cathedral Tree is the largest tree in the park, the Brotherhood Tree:

By the way, that is me standing in front of the tree.  This tree is 2,000 years old, 19 feet in diameter, and 297 feet tall.  The tree a few years back lost 74 feet of its height when a large wind storm blew the top of the tree off.  At 297 meters tall this tree is still one of the largest living things in the world.  Here is a view of the tree’s upper reaches:

Pretty impressive and I would love to climb one of these trees some day like these guys had a chance to do.

Anyway this was the last of the big and unusual trees to see thus we were off to take a ride on the gondola that takes visitor to the top of a high hill to get sweeping views of the redwood forest.

Next Posting: Trees of Mystery – Part 2

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