Copyright 2017 by Mario Vaden
New Hope grove is my favorite redwood grove. One recent bushwhack was 2017 with Chris Atkins. We found New Hope became one of the rare coast redwoods over 360 feet. We returned May 10 2017, one day before the 19th anniversary of the Day of Discovery when Sillett and Taylor passed by New Hope and discovered the Grove of Titans later in the day, May 11, 1998. Between the two groves, New Hope grove is hands-down my favorite. I will describe why this place seems so unique, then comment about 2010 when Thomas joined me. The photos below are a lot different. The place is spectacular with fog or sun, but serious photography here almost requires fog or overcast.
Height 360 ft. (+) ... Diameter 15.9 ft. dbh
Clark's Creek watershed south of Hy. 199 feels Wilderness and the creek puts it's own kind of music in the breeze. New Hope grove surrounds a broad moist flat with large 300 to 360 ft. redwoods all around and some western redcedars in the midst. A bigleaf maple sits like like a small autumn gemstone. New Hope is upstream of the main fork near a second fork where a seasonal brook emerges from the forest on the opposite side. A few minutes up the hillside is a big hidden clearing of almost pure sword ferns and redwood sorrel surrounded by huge coast redwoods like sentinels. New Hope is visible top to bottom, a rare sight in the coast redwood forest. The valley has an impressive assortment of meaty redwood trunks. We spotted at least four world-class redwood burls. One was approximately 12 feet wide, about 150 feet up one trunk. Amazingly, three of these huge burls can be composed in one photo. I don't recall seeing this sort of sight before in the redwoods. Glass Castle, another of Jedediah Smith's tallest redwoods, is almost directly south of New Hope, but I can't imagine anybody spotting it due to a good number of redwoods in-between the two, but also due to lack of photos for identification. I spared one top view image below because it's very inconspicuous and doesn't show the 14.0' dbh base which is slightly less than New Hope's 15.9' dbh
There are many gorgeous groves in the redwood parks, but New Hope grove holds a special place for it's many surprises and wilderness character. For me, it's worth the extra exercise. I usually prefer getting photos with good lighting, but New Hope grove is so incredible I could go there with no camera and have a perfect day exploring.
Years ago, my desire was to look for New Hope which some of you may have read about in a book The Wild Trees. At the time, proximity was supplied from the book and also from Michael Taylor while his website was functional. Then Thomas, a friend from Germany, came over to explore with me. Getting together on his vacations became a tradition, including 2014 to break ground on new discoveries plus an older visit to Helios. October 2010 we set out to find New Hope in Jedediah Smith park with compass and GPS. Clarks Creek watershed was not fully explored. Due to certain things found more recently, I removed the map from this page marking our path in 2010. It's better that others go there and start from scratch. Continue following image ...
Image: Thomas looks toward New Hope
We started with breakfast at the Fisherman's in Crescent City. Scrambled eggs for Thomas .. omelette and biscuits & gravy for me. By 8:30 am we entered Jedediah Smith along highway 199. From beginning to end, I got disoriented more often on this bushwhack than any other even with GPS. But we also left the valley a different way making bee-line for highway 199 and found some brutal huckleberry patches. On the bushwhack with Atkins, we timed our journey. It took 2.5 hrs. to reach New Hope grove. We headed back around 5:10 pm and reached our vehicle by 7:20 pm, just over two hours later. The shortest route to New Hope is a straight line from Hy. 99 to the north, where a couple of turnouts are available.
In 2010, Thomas and I spent half the day going in because we were unfamiliar with the area. Eventually we found it and the laser rangefinder confirmed we spotted the right coast redwood. The top reached upward into a fog or mist. It stood 108.65 meters or 356.65 feet tall with a trunk almost 16 feet wide. But New Hope isn't all we found in that area.
One of the most interesting redwoods was 68 feet circumference and 21.6 ft. diameter. We named it Caveman. This redwood has about 10 feet difference in grade between upslope and downslope. On the low side, we discovered a huge cave under the trunk with about 150 sq. ft. and two windows for daylight. The photo shows part. But you can also see the page for Caveman redwood with larger photos. It was a nice find along our bee-line from the Hy. 199 turnout to Clarks Creek.
Considering the basic location was described by Richard Preston, it's surprising nobody searches this part of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for New Hope or anything else. Michael Taylor even listed the GPS coordinates several years ago. I'm not sure why this area remained desolate of seekers, unless maybe, they heard of the huckleberry patches we encountered.
Thomas and I capped our day with Fish & Chips at the Chart Room in Crescent City. A few street machines remained in town after the Sea Cruise auto show and the atmosphere in town was lively. It was a nice evening to recap the adventure over a brew.
The south end of this park is where Sillett and Taylor entered Jedediah Smith redwoods, May 1998. The same day they discovered Lost Monarch, Screaming Titans, Del Norte Titan, El Viejo del Norte and a few others like Neptune. It may surprise some people when I tell them, but New Hope grove is my favorite grove even when compared to Grove of Titans.
In 2017 when I returned with Atkins, he was certain New Hope used to be much taller from the look of the top. If it maintains the same rate of growth without loss from breakage, New Hope may reach 370 ft. while I'm still able to bushwhack. New Hope has a larger trunk base than Hyperion and Helios which are taller by little more than three tall men standing on one-another's shoulders. One glance at new hope from the east or north immediately reveals what Helios does not look like.
Images: The 1st image shows Chris Atkins in front of New Hope coast redwood. The 2nd image shows three huge redwood burls as the sun was starting to set. The 3rd image shows a man obscured in the very top of Glass Castle. Both of these tallest redwoods in the park have comparably straight trunks. New Hope has good wind protection, and Glass Castle even better wind protection. The man is very close to the top of Glass Castle. The tip is barely ten feet above the frame.