A Stroll Amongst Giants
Stunning old growth redwoods in Hendy Woods
We often get guests who are on a redwood tour of sorts through Northern California, committed to seeing as much as they can of the beautiful old growth redwoods that grace our coastal mountains and hills with their regal presence. Usually, these guests are intent on getting up to the fabled Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County, in the Redwood National Park. They don’t always realize though that their dream lies 2 ½ to 3 hours north. Those who were planning on making a day trip of it more often than not look at us forlornly when we tell them how far of a drive it actually is and ask in a small voice if there might not happen to be some decently big trees nearby they could possibly see instead.
This is when we grin, because we’ve got a happy little ace up our sleeves… “Never fear!” we say, “Hendy Woods is close at hand!”
While still a 45 minute drive away, Hendy Woods State Park in the Anderson Valley is very much worth a visit. It has a couple of absolutely breathtaking groves of old growth redwoods that will make you want to just plunk yourself down on the nearest bench or fallen log and stare in wonder. Every time we go, we have to remind ourselves to look downward so we don’t get a crick in our necks from gaping up into the towering steeples of this cathedral of nature. And then when we do look down, we’re delighted again and again at the delicate complexity of this ecosystem – decomposing leaves and stumps give life to new trees and bushes, a gap in the upper canopy provides sunshine for a tiny wildflower to bloom, and miniscule creatures quietly roam the forest floor in search of food and shelter.
When we’ve finished going through the main groves of the park, there’s more to see if we’re still up for it. There are paths that go out of the old growth redwoods and up into slightly higher elevations, with more scrub and pines in evidence (and an old hermit hut!). There’s a path down to the rocky little Navarro River if we want to cool our feet. Oh, and we ALWAYS take a picnic to enjoy in the sweet little picnic area that looks out on the meadow right on the edge of the redwoods.
So all you redwood lovers out there, go for it, take a stroll and enjoy the majestic giants of Hendy Woods.
Written by Laura Hockett