Redwoods in Stout Grove

Artemis Coast Redwood ... a stream runs beneath

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page

Copyright 2014 by Mario Vaden

Artemis is a very large Coast Redwood. Maybe more interesting than it's great dimensions, is a small stream that flows beneath it, and hides from view in the summer.

It was discovered (Spring 2002) and named by Christine Ambrose, the wife of Anthony Ambrose (who assisted Prof. Steve Sillett (Humboldt State Univ.) on various research climbs. She named it after the Greek virgin huntress goddess ... sister of Apollo.

There's actually a small opening in the earth on the uphill side where one can peer down at the water and even hear. The tiny stream seems to flow most of the year ... and probably all year. This grows on the fringe of an unofficial grove called Atlas Grove, mentioned by author Preston in a redwood adventure book. Written references are few regarding Artemis specifically. like in National Geographic Explorer / Wild Places, short article called Living on Redwood Time.

Artemis was the first old growth Coast Redwood that author Richard Preston ever climbed. He joined Steve Sillett, Marie Antoinne and Robert Van Pelt, for his first ascent into redwood canopy. It was the next afternoon, when Preston wandered into Sillett's garage and made sketches and notes of kinds of climbing gear, including motion lanyards ... 'spider rigs" ... custom-made, for moving around in the old growth canopy..

One of the few redwoods that comes to mind, a little bit similar, is one called Sacagawea in Jedediah Smith Redwoods. Water flows beneath that one during the long rainy season, but maybe not all year.

Artemis Coast Redwood in Atlas Grove of Prairie Creek

Excerpts from a 2006 Diary introduction, written by Preston ...

"Artemis Creek does not appear on any map. It is two feet wide and as clear as air. It trickles down a mountain slope in a rainforest on the coast of northern California, somewhere in a valley just out of sight of the sea. The creek runs over a mosaic of pebbles and drops into a cave, where it disappears underground. I am lying on my stomach under a spray of ferns, with my head inside the mouth of Artemis Cave. The cave seems to be about thirty feet across, and it consists of a labyrinth of twisty passages, mostly underwater and too small to admit a person. Artemis Cave has a lemony scent. It smells alive. "It's time to get ready." Marie Antoine's voice comes from above. I pull my head out of the cave."

"I step backward, my boots splashing in the water of the creek, and I look up. The trunk of Artemis Tree, a gigantic coast redwood, is a furrowed wall of wood rising straight out of the creek. Artemis is thirty stories tall. The wall-the tree's lower trunk-begins at the mouth of Artemis Cave. The cave is inside the tree, and the creek pours into the tree. The trunk of Artemis slants upward along a basal swell, and the trunk goes vertical and soars. Far overhead, huge secondary trunks angle out of the main trunk and muscle into a dark crown. The top of the tree is nowhere to be seen. Artemis is one of the biggest living things on the planet, and is about two thousand years old."

The Artemis Cave mentioned is apart from a smaller cave uphill that the stream drops down into later in the year when rainfall subsides.