To be among ancient giant redwoods – taller than 30-storey skyscrapers – in the Avenue of the Giants – that was for us, the highlight of the Californian road trip 2012.

At first I thought that Avenue of the Giants was just a short avenue with giant redwoods – that we’d go there, see a patch, and move on. Wrong! It’s a long scenic drive, 30-40 kilometers.  A piece of advice: don’t rush while driving in this avenue. Breathe the sight in. It’s magnificent.

We parked on the side of the road to walk among the redwoods, which were taller than a 30-storey skyscraper. To be that tall, they had to put in hundreds of years. They are among the oldest trees in the world. Their ancestors lived over 150 years million years ago, during the Jurassic period, the time of the dinosaurs. And they are the tallest living things on earth. And all came from a seed the size of a tiny tomato seed, according to “Redwoods” by Jason Chin (we bought this book in a bookstore in Eureka.)

The younger redwoods are narrow at their bases, while the fat-trunked trees can be as much as 2000 years old, according to Lonely Planet. Redwoods sway in the wind (reminds me of bamboos). Their wood is resistant to insects and disease. And thanks to their thick, spongy bark with high moisture content, they could survive forest fire.

They are born survivors. But today they only grow in China and two areas of California, plus a grove in Oregon, says Lonely Planet.

Besides the redwoods, we also walked among ferns. Hubby told me that current ferns have existed almost 150 million years ago. Older relatives of ferns existed over 300 million years ago. (Respect!)

My brother-in-law Bart told me that Star Wars 3 featuring the forest of the ewoks was shot in this redwoody area of California.

Photo: Marcus Lindström