Redwoods in the Grove of Titans

Grove of Titans, Coast Redwoods

Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP. Updates & Location. Impact from News Stories.

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page

Copyright 2009 - 2017 by Mario Vaden

This page is about several unmarked coast redwoods called the Grove of Titans, discovered 1998. Between 2008 to 2017 more redwood titans were discovered elsewhere and Grove of Titans no longer has the largest coast redwoods. For more about that, read Year of Discovery. The first photo shows an example of new discovery, as does the page Darth Vader. I also updated Screaming Titans page with photos showing human impact to this Grove of Titans over time. In 2017, 4 news articles erased any secrecy. With signs by the parks on top of the news, I finally changed this page and added location & directions. If anyone has a genuine intererest about the grove's history, this page has a complete narrative. In 2017 wear spread in ways not seen before, following the news articles. I will comment on the grove's history, news, fund raising goals and wear. The location of these redwoods was published 2001 in Van Pelt's forest giant book, but didn't initiate impact, denoting his audience was on a different wavelength. The Grove of Titans location was available for 17 years.

video select for Grove of Titans redwoods

The last week of 2017, I posted video on Youtube showing things you won't find in the news coverage. The visual aid correlates with this page. Use this link to view the Grove of Titans video

December, 2017, the Grove of Titans was plastered nationally on CBS This Morning, apparently to raise funds. And on CBS News. Previous news articles doubled foot traffic in return for 1% of donations wanted. Written news was like hitting a sprained finger with a hammer to heal it. It remains to be seen whether CBS coverage brings cash, but an even greater surge of foot traffic will occur by the redwood park's & conservancy's networking. It's like gambling. At best a big payout at the cost of extra wear. At worst, triple the foot traffic. Search CBS Ths Morning under "Trying to protect California Redwoods from too much love". Amidst news coverage, a park person was quoted that some social trails in the Grove of Titans are in better shape than official trails. Keep in mind, the parks did not post signs like "keep out" or "not an official trail". The signs say "walk on official trails". Social trails look so established, people may think those are official trails. Amidst the news, the matter of parking is obscured. Even if money is given for trails, is there a plan for extra cars? The nearest parking can only handle about 5 vehicles without invasion near the road. Continue reading after image ...


Image: example of 2014 new discovery in Redwood National and State Parks

Grogans Fault redwood, wider than famous redwoods Grove of Titans


Contacting news outlets may be the only path available to the parks at the moment, so no fault in that. It's good to see the parks making effort. But they may have ignored Richard Preston's mistake of divulging excess details. The unfiltered message in 2017 news spread foot traffic to other groves the story was not intended to cover.


About the Grove of Titans coast redwoods

A chapter called Day of Discovery in Preston's redwood adventure book is where many people first learned about the Grove of Titans. That chapter may be online at Orion - search Day of Discovery. The adventure started up Clarks Creek near Hy. 199 at the south side of the park, passing New Hope Grove. These are not a landmark grove and the redwoods in the Grove of Titans most commonly known are these five (each page has more photos and info):

Del Norte Titan ... Lost Monarch ... El Viejo del Norte ... Screaming Titans ... Chesty Puller

The Grove of Titans holds it's own kind of character compared to more recent discoveries. It's not scorched like The Dark Horse, lonely like Deku Tree or a zombie like Soylent Green. The large redwoods in Grove of Titans tower near continual movement of water in a valley.

Location & Directions Part I

2017, 4 news articles were published about the Grove of Titans including Statesman Journal, Times Standard and Del Norte Triplicate. On account of those, I provided the location to reduce wear and tear. I kept it secret since 2008, but comments in those articles plus social media means more damage will happen if I omit directions. December, an article was reprinted by the Curry Coastal Pilot with a mix of information and errors, but 3/4 was on-point. The most interesting part was Redwood Parks Conservancy raising a mere $14,940 the entire year. The Curry Coastal Pilot was a reprint of a November topic in the San Francisco Chronicle by writer Lizzie Johnson.

Back in 2016, the parks identified the grove with signs along the trail and Howland Hill Rd.. The parks did not offer maps in the past and the subject of largest coast redwoods may be a sore topic for some rangers. A few people were not courteous to rangers or visitor center volunteers about the Grove of Titans in past years. Scroll this page for Location & Directions Part II


News and Publicity

The Grove of Titans is no secret and many people shared the location in social media. That means a lot of vegetation was destroyed, shown on the Screaming Titans page. Photos from the same image sets were posted near trails in Jedediah Smith redwood park. The Grove of Titans was widely publicized by Richard Preston's book, the one sold in redwood park visitor centers. That book was by far the greatest factor that opened the door to impact in this grove (see review of The Wild Trees). More revealed toward the end of the page.

In 2017, Redwood Parks Conservancy wrote on their website "When the grove was discovered in the late '90s, it was nearly inaccessible, surrounded by thick under-story with no direct trail access. As knowledge of the grove began to spread, mainly via websites touting the locations of the trees, visitors began to venture off-trail to find this hidden treasure". That's partly contradictory to our observations. "Knowledge" spread via the book more than anything, and the grove was accessible by trail for decades. Websites spread the location beginning with a Smith River alliance inadvertent 2008 photo caption. Years later, disclosure became very intentional as a couple people spread the location on the internet. (one being the son of a pastor near Medford)

February 2017, Zach Urness published in the Statesman Journal comments from head ranger Brett Silver and scientist Steve Sillett about a possible $1,000,000 boardwalk and trail. He quoted Sillett that "we now know of larger trees elsewhere" reiterating the new discoveries 2008 - 2017. In March 2017, Del Norte Triplicate published a story by Jessica Cejnar quoting the ranger that Grove of Titans is the "worst kept secret" in Jedediah Smith park. She covered foot traffic, the trail plan. surveillance cameras and 22,000 images. March 2017, Natalya Estrada wrote in the Times Standard News. All three articles remained on script. Each retained some accuracy. None nailed a comprehensive story. But related to news and donations, see the image of the destroyed redwood trail bridge down this page. It's something writers and rangers didn't delve into.

Before the articles there was already plenty of wear and tear to the Grove of Titans triggered by leakers. But 2017, I noticed a new phase of wear immediately following the news. Prior, wear was mostly at the center of the grove. Afterward, new social trails completely uneccessary to reach the better-known titans started. The timing of articles and wear is like clockwork. That's why the 12/18/2017 airing on CBS This Morning seems like going to a casino for money. So far, wear and tear far outweigh donations to the park conservancy. They are hoping a golden slot machine will pay out big. Hopefully they find the golden million somewhere to buffer the negative effect of news.

If the parks "win" the $1,400,000 "jackpot", it introduces the question whether Mill Creek trail becomes closed entirely. The parks were quoted for the project taking several years to complete, rather than the 4 to 6 months we in non-government businesses could probably accomplish a similar task.

Image: the Grove of Titans has giant Selaginella too. This is not moss. It's Oregon Spikemoss and the strands were up to 4 ft. long. I haven't seen this anywhere in Prairie Creek park. But it can be found in Jedediah Smith in places including this Grove of Titans. This photo was taken January 26, 2008


Measuring a moss resembling Selaginella in the Grove of Titans coast redwood forest


All three 2017 articles were certain to trigger an even greater surge of foot traffic and compaction on top of the writers' aim to help parks get funds. And foot traffic will amplify before a solution can be implemented. The parks may need to move at a marathon pace now. So hopefully more people will contribute. In 2016, the first $1000.00 was sent. We sent this first $1000, and have been watching for progress and donations.

By May of 2017, quite a few people I met near town and park told me they learned of the Grove of Titans via those news articles, prompting them to search and find the location. They just happened to bring up the matter while talking about coast redwoods, and most were from places like Florida or Canada, who didn't even know about Grove of Titans until they read the articles. This confirmed my expectation that articles would multiply the impact of boots before funds arrived. In a nutshell, the news articles were comparable to someone aggressively swinging a stick to put out a fire, but spreading "sparks" and starting more fires.

By summer, I realized I needed to add the location here. It's a long explanation, but trust me, there's a reason which I can't explain here yet. (707) 464 - 2137 @ 701 Hy. 101 S. Crescent City, CA 95531. Click photo for more .. 8 / 2014 Curly Redwood Lodge Motel Lodging


More about the Grove of Titans

The Grove of Titans coast redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park boils down to relatively few, very large coast redwoods. The grove was claimed by some people to have the 1st, 4th and 5th largest coast redwoods, but for years, lluvatar of Prairie Creek park and Fusion Giant of Redwood National Park were actually bigger. Iluvatar was the coast redwood on the cover of 2009 National Geographic magazine, but wasn't named in the article.

Screaming Titans is really a double stem, two coast redwoods side by side that grew into each other. The age is probably 1/2 what most people expect. If Del Norte Titan is 2300 years old as estimated, Screaming Titans could be more in the range of 1400 years.

From my main redwood page you can navigate to pages for each of 15 largest Coast Redwoods and others. A few from this grove are among those. Chesty Puller and Screaming Titans are not among the 15 largest and were put in awesome and big. The photos enable people to see what these redwoods look like because 95% of visitors won't stop to see the Grove of Titans while driving along Howland Hill Rd.. Most go to Stout Grove.


Image: this is the oldest photo I have of Lost Monarch showing the trunk and area around it. Four frames stitched from 2008. There wasn't a trace of human activity. Just a thick layer of needles and branches and small plants all around. More recent photos at Lost Monarch's page show change over time. The forest in the background is the hill where hikers descend Mill Creek trail down to the grassy glade as the approach from the Howland Hill Rd.. The coast redwood Chesty Puller is across the glade in the background.


Coast Redwood Lost Monarch full canopy view across marsh


Image: this is a recent photo of Chesty Puller coast redwood looking the opposite direction downhill across the glade. Lost Monarch is on the opposite side in the background. From this vantage point, El Viejo del Norte is also in the background to the left of Lost Monarch and hidden. This photo was taken 2016. Chesty Puller used to have so many sword ferns prior to 2010 that it was hard to walk between them to get around the trunk. Another image on it's page from the other side shows how social paths erased plants. This redwood is visible from Mill Creek trail which is to the right, barely 100 ft. away.


Coast Redwood Chesty Puller in Grove of Titans with view across marsh to Lost Monarch


It's intriguing how the handful of largest redwoods in this grove appear of similar age. What prompted their genesis? Why are there not more? Were there more? What remains standing suggests the grove's giants may have germinated within a small gap in history's time-table.

The terrain experienced a dramatic change which could have occured before the titans germinated. But there is a grassy marsh in the midst that is void of large evergreens. The Ruthlor Gulch creek probably passed through the marsh centuries ago. Dr. Steve Sillett expressed his thoughts that a landslide probably changed the valley. The location of trunks, creek and terrain are indicative of a landslide and flood. Ruthlor Gulch creek is the one that flows past Screaming Titans toward Mill Creek.



Terrain & Diversity

Grove of Titans has other species like hemlock, vine maple and big leaf maple. There is a big mound from a presumed ancient landslide that diverted the brook. Near Screaming Titans is a strange trench that looks hand-dug. Its possible a log got pressed into the ground and decayed leaving the long empty void. For the more part, the largest coast redwoods in this grove grow on flats.

Grove of Titans Del Norte Titan Redwood

These large coast redwoods were discovered in 1998 by Steve Sillett & Michael Taylor during what they described as the "toughest bushwhack" ever. Sillett & Taylor entered Jedediah Smith redwoods along Hy. 199 and followed Clark's Creek up into the hills, following valleys and ridges and brooks for a full day Clarks Creek is the same one that crosses Walker Rd. near Simpson Reed trail. Their zig-zag bushwhack was about 3 miles combined. Along the route they passed a previous coast redwood discovery called New Hope and a discovery called Neptune. This Neptune could be presumed as the northernmost extent of the grove. They also found a huge Douglas fir named Ol' Jed up "Ruthor Gulch". There are also other noteworthy finds.

Images: Approaching the Del Norte Titan. The trunk lit by early morning light on the opposite side of a small ridge.

The redwoods with the most name recognition include Lost Monarch and Del Norte Titan. Trunk diameters approach 26 feet. Heights exceed 300 ft.. So big, their own girth can actually hide the rest the trunk.

El Viejo del Norte has hundreds of pounds of canopy soil, fern mat and epiphytes. But that is not exclusive to this grove. If you hike trails in the parks and look overhead, you can spot epiphyte gardens in most of the coast redwood parks.

Several redwoods in Grove of Titans are wider than the Stout redwood across the Smith River from Jedediah Smith campground. The Stout Redwood is about 16' wide, which is 10 ft. narrower than Lost Monarch.

For the record, the Grove of Titans never had the "10 largest" coast redwoods. That's a myth initiated around 2010 by an amateur website. It's remarkable how many people over the years encountered anonymous content lacking contact information and scooped-up claims as if it were gospel. It built a false impression. The fact there are so few titans in addition to worn paths, is one more reason New Hope Grove earns two "shakas" in my book.


Preventing more Wear & Tear

If you find and visit the Grove of Titans, do not walk up the trunks to get a better photo. That's how damage to vegetatation happened. Years ago, responsible people lifted fronds, stepped around sorrel and stayed off trunks. That was the good-old-days when people had to work to find this place, and treated it like a masterpiece. When you see my older photos with a man or woman next to one of these redwood titans, keep in mind they side-stepped every fern and sorrel for the shot. The effort we used was "leave no trace" behind and leave the area looking it's best for the next person.

Grove of Titans Del Norte Titan Redwood

For now it's almost impossible to reverse the damage after the location was dished-out like handouts to people who don't invest the same effort. But hopefully more people will try to reduce further damage. Stay confined to the middle of worn areas away from the fringe.


Location & Directions
Part II

The grove is along Mill Creek Trail west of the Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It is so easy to reach, I decided to skip a map. It's self-explanatory once you reach the vicinity. And GPS is almost pointless because signal tends to jump-around a lot. If you can't spot the social trails, you may need an eye doctor!

Image: the Del Norte Titan. Taken from a clearing on the alluvial flat covered with sword ferns, vine maples and other species.

This is not "Valley of the Lost Groves" with The Knotty Lady as some have asked. That's down in Prairie Creek. This Grove of Titans is up in Jedediah Smith park.

The shortest route starts 1.5 miles southwest of Stout Grove about 500 feet on the west side of the old vehicle bridge where Howland Hill Rd. crosses Mill Creek. You want the Mill Creek trailhead on the Crescent City side of that old concrete bridge.

Find Mill Creek trailhead a about 500 feet SW of that bridge. There's parking for maybe 5 vehicles. From that point Mill Creek trail takes you north and northeast, meandering up the wooded hill. About 15 minutes, you drop down into a clearing close to Mill Creek. It's a grassy glade by the creek. As soon as you reach this open area, you've reached the vicinity. That's where the grove can be viewed and most of the titans are on on the north side of the trail. The social trails are clearly visible offshoots. On the official Mill Creek trail don't cross the 1st wooden foot bridge or you went too far and missed the small social paths. If you reach that wooden foot bridge at a tiny creek, turn around and look for the unofficial paths that the park signs encourage you not to take. We all should realize everybody will follow those paths to the titans anyway, so worn, they may seem like official offshoots.

The social trails are so worn it's self-explanatory. In summer you can use seasonal bridges to reach Mill Creek trail from Stout Grove area and hike SW from the opposite direction for a longer hike that's less self-explanatory. But if Howland Hill road is ever locked for maintenance, Grove of Titans can be reached from Hy. 199 hiking Hiouchi trail for 2 miles and connecting Mill Creek trail, then going southwest over a few wooden foot bridges.

If you were planning to find the Grove of Titans and landed on this page, realize this description does not compromise anything anymore. Better you got it here, because my pages clarify damage and how to avoid more vegetation loss. Just stay off plants, don't let children romp freely and avoid laying backpacks on plants. The parks already identified the grove with signs along the trail in 2016. To reiterated, 2017 news articles about Grove of Titans erased secrecy. If you encounter anonymous leaks, don't propagate by sharing. Because they provide zilch that conveys the real changes, or importance to be more careful.


Image: this is the trailhead sign along Howland Hill Rd., plus an information sign to alert hikers about wear and tear.


Grogans Fault redwood, wider than famous redwoods Grove of Titans


Facts about social trails vs. official trails

Richard Preston misinformed readers of his redwood adventure book when he wrote no trail was built through the Grove of Titans. Maybe no trail was built specifically for it, but Mill Creek trail crosses directly through the grove.

The sign makes it clear that the parks want hikers to stay on official trails, but that won't come to pass. You know, and I know the parks are a government organization that must reside in a perfect world while the rest of us live in the flexible world. But the parks offers to help flexible world because that's their job. The signs at least encourage staying on some form of trail even if it's a social trail. I'm certain their signs and choice of words will definitely help reduce wear and tear. So signs are definitely good progress.

The Grove of Titans has at least two social trails that predate Mill Creek trail and in that regard may seem more official than the "official" trail. These very old social trails seem to date back to the historic days of Howland Hill Rd.. I reviewed an old 2008 image of Del Norte Titan before someone intentionally leaked the location, and I could see the historic social trail a short distance from the trunk.

Presently, the most important thing is that visitors at stay in the middle of any trails there and avoid damage to more vegetation. So pick the official trail or social trail and stay in the middle. If you don't wander off those, it's impossible to stomp more grown plants. The problem in the grove was never walking and standing between plants. The problem was stepping on plants like sorrel, ferns and tiny conifers.


Image: Our oldest daughter exploring with me, looking for the Grove of Titans in 2008. The grove was a better experience in the days when it was more of a hunt. Others often tell me the good old days are gone now and the opportunity to hunt is a thing of the past for this grove and other redwoods. They said the awe was better when the had to work more to find a hidden "holy grail" of the forest.


Exploring for huge coast redwoods in the Grove of Titans and Ruth Lore in Ruthlor Gulch


Hidden Cameras in the Grove of Titans and the Park

In 2015, motion sensor cameras were installed in the Grove of Titans by someone from Humboldt State University to monitor human activity. In one way that may seem redundant because wear and tear and number of visitors was obvious. Even local people could accurately estimate the foot traffic, during conversation over a meal in town.

I don't recall any signs informing hikers about the active cameras. There were over 20,000 images recording any person or activity. If anyone was taking photos, walking, picking their nose, taking a leak or doing the "wild mambo" as Stallone phrased it in Demolition Man - they were memorialized. Cameras were also placed near the Hyperion redwood in Redwood National Park. Possible areas for surveillance include any tallest or largest coast redwoods. So be careful when nature calls. Hidden cameras in the park are possible anywhere. These cameras are so affordable, I believe a few other individuals will hide some without permits because there is growing curiousity the past few years about "anonymous" people.


Grove of Titans other Redwoods

For a brief time around August 2016, I added a few extra coast redwood photos to this page for Morpheus, Vesuvius and Ruthor Gulch Beast, upland redwoods where most people never go. I removed the pics because someone with the parks was worried about lookers wandering farther up the valley to find them. In the same way author Preston didn't mention Yin or Yang of Prairie Creek, he didn't see or mention everything around the Grove of Titans including some post-2007 discoveries. Most people don't realize the extent of grove. So as a favor to the park, I constrained photos to the few redwood titans.


Image: The redwoods here are always big, but I think this grove looks it's best in winter with overcast, or early morning when it's damp with interesting shadows.


The titans coast redwoods in Grove of Titans near Ruthor Gulch and Mill Creek trail


My thoughts about future trails and boardwalks

To anybody ready to donate $10,000.00 to $1,000,000 ... it may be a good idea to ask for a final plan before giving your money. When I heard about the $1400,000 price ceiling for Grove of Titans, I thought Holy-Cow! ... Red tape set aside, if this was private land, wonders could be done for $250K. But it was also a shock to hear rangers must bring an archaeologist to set a single sign post ... literally.

video select for Grove of Titans redwoods

Experience suggests to me that the parks can use $1,400,000 ... but not for this grove alone. Maybe a 50/50 split. I'm certain it would be better to spend just half in the Grove of Titans, and spread $700K elsewhere, including Howland Hill Giant, shown in the video I shared. It would only take a few thousand dollars to cut up a few small fallen logs and gently pile up the debris between it's trunk the road, protecting it's roots. Hardly anybody would ever stop to take their photo and compact soil over it's roots again. It would only require 2 to 3 men, one chainsaw and one trackhoe or articulating loader.

In Grove of Titans, the social trails where vegetation is already trampled may be the better choice for future trails. A lot of it may not need rails or boardwalks. The earth is already compacted. Hopefully they don't add any of the nasty looking synthetic fabric that keeps popping up on a few other redwood hiking trails like Boyscout Tree trail near the first bridge. It's unnatural looking like trash on the trail.

These titans can drop gigantic chunks of wood like El Viejo del Norte did in 2008, or Godwood Creek Giant did in 2010. This is why excess deck or boardwalk may become repairs or money down the drain. So if you plan to spend $5,000.00 or more, gather all the facts and information possible before signing your check. In fact, Sreaming Titans emphasizes this point. Steve Sillett and Marie Antoinne are mentioned in The Wild Trees about Screaming Titans in late 2001. It's tops were described as "unstable death trap" ready to collapse. Since 2001, I don't believe that wood has fallen out of the top yet. It may be ready to crush decks or boardwalks any year. Routing boardwalks beneath disintegrating redwoods increases the odds of bodies beneath tons of debris.

$1,000,000 cannot ensure the Grove of Titans will stand hundreds of years from now. It's a gamble as well as an investment. Those redwoods could stand 400 years or they could fall in 50 years. One of the titans could literally take down another in one storm.

I suggested to Cejnar of the Daily Triplicate to write a Part II followup and report more of these aspects in extra detail. Including whether the parks planned to use Sillett or arborists as consultants to find hazards or determine safe platform positions. Or whether other consultants can devise time saving methods to move materials into the grove. And why so much emphasis on this handful of older redwoods but no similar red-alert to save Boyscout Tree or several other that may have better chances for longevity.

Hopefully more recent discoveries will not enter the equation of wear and tear. The huge platform at Prairie Creek is already more than enough, it not overkill.


Image: This almost new bridge in Jedediah Smith redwood park was destroyed by a trunk smaller than limbs which can fall from Grove of Titans redwoods. This is one example why I ask people to pause before donating or spending money for decks and boardwalks placed under giant redwoods which will certainly collapse. Replacement can be more expensive than the initial cost.

bridge boardwalk collapse near the grove of titans in Jedediah Smith redwood park


Image: a floating device for counting fish that was accessed on a regular basis using an old historic social trail in part of the Grove of Titans. Activity related to this contraption appears to have extended the length of the old social trail. This is related to government run activity, not rank and file redwood gawkers. It's possible recent studies noting square feet of vegetation lost, did not fully factor-in or factor-out the historic social trails. This is one more facet missing from the news coverage or bulletins that a few of us have closely observed.

Screaming Titans and fallen log in the Grove of Titans redwoods


Image: Screaming Titans about 2 years after the previous image of it shown above my donation comments. The collapsed stems and wood show additional disintegration in the grove beyond what I described on the El Viejo del Norte page. These groves experience breakage and damage and will continue to do so. This is why I encourage people who may donate to scrutinize any trail plans. This is one more reason why I question whether a full million is a wise investment.

Screaming Titans and fallen log in the Grove of Titans redwoods


Image: explorers (Atkins & Sillett) return 10 years later to upland Ruthlor Gulch where Taylor & Sillett descended back in 1998 on the Day of Discovery. We spent most of this day going up Ruthlor Gulch to the higher elevation to observe changes in this part of Jedediah Smith park.


Grove of Titans redwoods area near Ruthlor Gulch mentioned in The Wild Trees book


My first experience in Grove of Titans, and what became my "crossroads"

The first time I heard "Grove of Titans" was around 2007 when Preston's book was published. I hadn't heard of Michael Taylor or Steve Sillett either. But I was more interested to see the Grove of Titans than meet those men. Maybe because Preston made several of the book characters more quirky than they are in real life.

I was already systematically exploring this part of Jedediah Smith park thoroughly. Considering how far I explored off Hiouchi and Mill Creek trails, I would have located the Grove of Titans anyway within a year.

Preston was far too descriptive in his book. For keeping a location a secret, he did a rotten job. No matter how he spun the narrative about the Sillett-Taylor bushwhack, Preston gave the area away like a pin on a map. Between mention of Stout Grove proximity and "grassy glade", there were only two creeks where the men could have discovered the Grove of Titans.

Some delay was Preston's mis-information about no trail through the grove, implying the grove was like a mile off trail, exaggerating distance. So I explored more like 1/2 to 3/4 mile into the forest. In the Day of Discovery chapter Preston described enough information about time, distance, direction and terrain, that using Google Earth's satellite image, it was possible to pin-point the area. As I said, the situation in the Grove of Titans today is related to Preston's book.

morning sunrise in the Grove of Titans redwoods and ferns

I was at Lost Monarch early in my search but didn't realize it. I was consumed with lichens and photograhed some of those on the northwest side of Lost Monarch's trunk, not noticing it's size. The trunks are so large, if you stand too close the rest can't be seen. I turned and left the area pointed another direction. Maybe two trips later my return descent down the hill from another vigorous bushwhack passed right by Grove of Titans and I spotted one of the titans from a distance. I was exhausted and returned the next weekend instead, for a closer look.

Image: Our son also explored with me between 2008 and 2010. On a sunny morning, this is what part of the grove will look like June 30th at 7:47 am in the morning.

It was surprising to find out how close the grove is to the trail and that Preston gave so many details. That realization led to the origin of my main redwood page which was originally designed to cloak the grove's location through a truthful narrative that would distract people from some clues others inadvertently shared. Apparently my page delayed damage for several years. A few others recognized the page's effectiveness and helped steer web viewer traffic to it.

We realized that another organization's and park's complete "radio silence" was an ineffective strategy. That meant seekers (good or bad) could do a keyword search on the internet and be served leaked clues in the first page of search results. So several people flooded the internet with countless blog posts linking to my Grove of Titans page. That literally buried inadvertent clues among reams of search results. My page was barren of clues and just told a story and riddle.

Eventually, it became obvious that the grove couldn't be contained. Step by step, well-meaning people posted extra clues without realizing. Eventually, the surprise was why anybody in their right mind would choose to leak the Grove of Titans location by literally posting a map to it, considering the damage that would follow with no existing trail plan. But it eventually happened.

Back in 2008, my arborist knowledge, along with concealing the location is probably what opened the door to networking with Dr. Steve Sillet, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. So the Grove of Titans literally altered the course of my life. Those men taught me how to explore and measure, plus many other things. That led to discoveries, and a love of photography. So my professional work grew far beyond arboriculture to include professional photography and portraits. My prints hang from here to Denmark, and I met people and new friends from all over the world on account of experience in the coast redwoods.

The Grove of Titans was the crossroads in my life. And a good one at that.


For more information, read: Why Some Locations Were Kept Secret