Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad at Fulton, CA. (a 3 ft narrow-gauge railroad)

When we lived in Kentfield in Marin in the 1990’s one the family’s favorite day trips was down over the Golden Gate Bridge, down the Peninsula and along Route 17 to Felton.  I had never been up close to a Shay loco before let alone ridden behind one.  I’m not sure wife Sarah and the kids were as entranced as was I. Looking at these photos taken some 25 years ago brings back many happy memories.

The Dixian Shay we rode behind was built in 1912.  She was originally owned by the Alaculsy Lumber Company, and was used on the Smokey Mountain Railroad in Tennessee. The Dixiana is named for a small narrow-gauge mining railroad, now abandoned, out of Dixiana,

The tender of Shay #1

The tender of Shay #1

Shay #1

Shay #1

View of the Shay from one of the open air passenger cars

View of the Shay from one of the open air passenger cars

The steam and gears that fascinated me

The steam and gears that fascinated me

These photos were taken before the age of digital cameras. Alas, I didn’t have a movie camera. If I had one I’d like to think I could have taken this vid ……..

What happened in the life of a 1,341 year old redwood?

We, as in our computer guru, Roger Thornburn and me, are in the process of creating posters to affix to the outside wall of our (The Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society) soon to be Museum/Library. The photo below must have been taken a long while ago based on the last date and the clothes the man is wearing. The copy I gave to Roger was quite grungy. He’s done a great job of cleaning it up and making all the data readable. Double click on the photo to see all the dates clearly.

Section of a 1,341 year old Redwood tree

Section of a 1,341 year old Redwood tree

Thanks Roger.

The Drive-thru Chandelier (Redwood) Tree at Leggett, CA

First, where is Leggett? Leggett (formerly, Leggett Valley) is a place in Mendocino County, California. It is located on the South Fork of the Eel River 17 miles northwest of Laytonville, at an elevation of 984 feet. You can get there from Fort Bragg (the home of our club’s Model Railroad Layout) via a VERY twisty State Route 1, whose northern terminus with U.S. Route 101 is just outside the community. How big is it? The town of Leggett includes a single gas station, K-12 school, a convenience store, pizza parlor, fire station and Drive-Thru Tree. The Drive-thru tree is named the Chandelier Tree.

It is a VERY large Redwood:

Chandelier Tree. Sign

Chandelier Tree. Sign

Can you really drive through it? Yes, and you have been able to do so for many years. Look at the age of the cars in the gallery below:

 

50-Million-Year-Old Redwood Chunk Found in Diamond Mine

How long have “our” coastal redwoods existed? Well, a search for diamonds in Canada’s far north turned up a rare fossil — a chunk of a redwood sealed in volcanic rock more than 50 million years ago. A search for diamonds in Canada’s far north turned up a rare fossil — a chunk of a redwood sealed in volcanic rock more than 50 million years ago. A study of the well-preserved specimen, which also contains a sliver of amber, shows that the now-icy region where it was found had a swampier past. The wood was found a few years ago in a kimberlite pipe, named the Panda pipe, over 1,000 feet below Earth’s surface at the Ekati diamond mine, just south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the researchers say.

50 million year old piece of Redwood

50 million year old piece of Redwood

As Peanuts would say – “Good grief”.

Near Ukiah is Montgomery Woods (Montgomery State Reserve), home of one of the world’s tallest redwoods

The tallest living tree stands at 367 feet, 6 in, or five stories higher than the Statue of Liberty. It is the Mendocino Tree, a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) found at Montgomery State Reserve near Ukiah, California, USA. It is estimated to be over 1000 years old. The tree was last measured in September 1998, and was also found to have a diameter of 10 ft. 4 in. It was declared the tallest tree in 1996. More recently other redwoods have found to be taller.

My kids loved having adventures with their dad. They even had teeshirts which said, “I survived adventures with my dad.” Some of our adventures were hairier than than what was good for me let alone them. Anyway, when daughter Holly came from Connecticut to visit she wanted an “adventure.”

Notwithstanding having lived here (Fort Bragg, CA.) since 2000 I had never visited Montgomery Woods. So a visit to Montgomery Woods was mooted. Getting there isn’t real easy:

From Mendocino go 30 miles east on Comptche-Ukiah Road and pass through Comptche (it’s tiny – if you blink you’ll miss it). Continue on as it becomes Orr Hot Springs Road, a scenic, winding and poorly maintained country road. Park in the lot of the Mendocino Woods State Park on the right just east of a small bridge.”

We stopped for a libation and snack in Mendocino and off we trooped. It was well worth the effort of getting there.

Sign at the entrance

Holly checking out the sign at the entrance

Really neat A Frame bridge

Informative sign about the Pomo

Look at the size of this downed one

Is this the tallest tree?

Lots of the visitors having their pics taken in front of this one

Great adventure.

 

Big Trees in pics from way back then

I love big trees. One of my great pleasures is taking a drive to Eureka and stopping in at the Avenue of the Giants. I like it best when it’s pouring rain!!!

This pic shows, in part, why I like them so much – you stand by an old redwood and you are standing next to over a thousand years of history. Look at this pic to get the idea:

Time capsule

Time capsule

Amazing isn’t it. I don’t know how old the trees are in the gallery below apart from a lot. Alas I have few details of where they were located or cut. Double click on any one to set the gallery in action.