Ancient Survivors: Redwood State and National Parks

The massive and ancient Coast Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are master survivors from a prehistoric time. They are built to withstand fire, to ward off insects, and, most impressively, to regenerate themselves through burl sprouts.  When a redwood is distressed from, say, fire, the cells or burl sprouts within it react by shooting out sprouts which can become new trees!  It is not uncommon to see a redwood, dead or alive, with a younger cloned tree shooting up from beside it or even from within it!  Is there any other species on this planet that has the ability to clone itself in such a way?  While looking up a massive trunk to the tree branches and the reiterated trees sprouting from it, I said “This…this is higher power.”  These trees have survived thousands of years because of their design. I am not a religious person, but being out here, I don’t doubt that there is a creator. Here, in nature, is where my church lies. Come out here yourself, and maybe you will be reminded that it is by honoring nature that we honor our maker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The thickness and dampness of Redwood bark protects the trees from wildfire

Aside: I feel blessed to have spent a full month in the Canadian Rockies.  I still have more to write about the area, as well as the amazing Olympic Peninsula, but for now I just wanted to skip ahead to Redwood National Park due to the level of influence it has on me.

Continue reading

Prehistory is Humbling: Makoshika or “Bad Land”

The first four days after our day of departure from Minnesota were spent at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Western North Dakota and Makoshika State Park in Eastern Montana.  Both areas we visited shared a common theme: maco sika, a Lakota phrase meaning “bad land,” or “bad earth”.  These bizarre lands are named such for their hot dry climate and lack of potable water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What fascinated me most about the badlands was how much prehistoric evidence exists within them.  Their history is not hot and dry at all, but lush and subtropical.  Millions of years ago, these lands were inhabited by animals now extinct (an ancient reptile called Champsosaurus at Theodore Roosevelt and dinosaurs at Makoshika).

Continue reading