Travel Photography: Nor Cal & Redwoods National Forest

I grew in rural Illinois on the edge of a forest. My childhood was spent trouncing around in the woods, crossing creeks on fallen tree trunks, collecting pinecones and stones, and curiously observing wildlife. Being around so much nature as a kid, I would have never guessed that at 33 a tree would make me feel insignificant.

Damnation Creek Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park
Damnation Creek Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park

Standing in the presence of the redwoods in northern California that’s exactly how I felt. Small, unimportant, like an ant walking across someone’s kitchen floor. If one of those trees suddenly came to life, how easily I would be erased from existence on its heel.

Banana Slug
Damnation Creek Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park

There’s something in the air there that is inexplicably magical. It suddenly makes sense why so many fairy tales are based in the woods. It feels impossible to try to put the feeling of that place into words but I will try my best.

Stand perfectly still and at first everything seems calm and quiet. But listen more closely and you can hear the vastness of life surrounding you.

The layers of the forest are almost too numerous to count. Dirt carpeted in ivy and shamrocks, overlaid with shrubbery woven with spider webs, underneath azalea trees blanketed in moss, all living in the shadow of the giants.

The Redwoods sway, moan and crack in the wind as if they’re speaking to one another. Fiddlehead greens reach from the ground for what little light escapes between their branches. Creatures scurry, slither and hop across the forest floor and up the sides of giants.

Where the sunlight streaks through the trees tiny specs illuminate in the air like fairy dust. The air is damp and crisp and when you breath it in it’s as if you are baptized in it. You are released from the woods clean and renewed.

If I could find a way to bottle that feeling and carry it with me forever I would. What a privilege it was to get to visit this place.