Copyright 2010 by Mario Vaden
For quite some time it was in my plans to go and look for the New Hope redwood, which some of you may have read about in the book by Preston.
This search was a bit different than some other big or tall coast redwoods in that I already knew the basic location. But it was not one that I planned to search for alone.
Then Thomas enters the picture. From Germany, on his vacation. And he was more than willing to explore valleys and creeks.
So in October 2010, Thomas and I set out to look for New Hope with GPS and his nifty new watch & compass. New Hope was not the main goal either. More than half our purpose was to explore a new area among the rdwoods and enjoy fresh air.
That turned out to be one of the most unique redwood explorations ever. I've been to a lot of places in Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith, and no valley or grove comes to mind as comparing to the area between Highway 199 and New Hope redwood.
We started with breakfast about 7:30 am at the Fisherman's restaurant across from the Curly Redwood Lodge in Crescent City. Scrambled eggs for Thomas ... omellette and biscuits & gravy for me. By 8:30 am we entered Jedediah Smith redwoods along highway 199.
From beginning to end, I got disoriented more often on this bushwhack than any other, even with a GPS. The readings were dancing all over the place, but eventually zeroed-in. We agreed that without GPS or compass, there may be no coming out for a long, long time.
There were groves of huckleberry more extensive than I've ever seen. And the transition between several fern glades and the huckleberry groves seemed like the difference between day and night. But the whole place looked grand. I remember commenting that only God could make something like this.
About half way into the day, we found the New Hope redwood. The top reaching into a fine mist: remnants of a subsiding early morning rain. It stood 108.65 meters or 356.65 feet tall, with a trunk just under 16 feet wide. But that's not all we found, nor all we explored for. We expanded our route going in and and coming out to see more of the valley back behind the hill over which we began.
One of the most interesting redwoods was 68 feet circumference / 21.6 feet diameter, which we may just call the Caveman redwood. There was about 10 - 12 feet difference in grade between the upslope and downslope sides. On the low side, we discovered a big cave under the trunk, with about 150 square feet of floorspace. And 2 tiny windows for some daylight. The 2 photos above are Caveman redwood.
Considering that the basic location of New Hope has been described by Richard Preston in the book he wrote, it's surprising that more folks have not searched for what appears to be the tallest known coast redwood in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It is a fine looking redwood too.
The image below roughly shows our route. The red arrows are where we significantly got off course and had to adjust our route. The New Hope redwood is not posted on the map. But the approximate vicinity of the Caveman redwood is provided. Rate of travel varied tremendously too, and mid-day is nowhere near mid-loop of our path.
We went into this bushwhack and exploration smiling, ready to handle whatever was encountered, because we had heard some interesting descriptions about a few near inpenetrable areas. It was probably the most labor-intensive 2 miles I've explored in the redwoods. But Thomas and I both came out smiling.
This part of the park would make for some pretty good training-wheels for folks looking for the biggest or tallest of redwoods like Hyperion. Especially since more solid clues have been published for New Hope than for Hyperion, Helios or Icarus. For some time to come, this will be the redwood forest exploration by which others are measured.
The south end of this park is basically where Sillett and Taylor entered Jedediah Smith redwoods, May 1998, when they discovered the Grove of Titans: Lost Monarch, Screaming Titans, Del Norte Titan, El Viejo del Norte and a few others.
Finally, the day was capped-off with plates of Fish & Chips at the chart room: south end of Crescent City. A few street machines still remained in town after the auto show, and the atmosphere in the city was still moderately lively.