Progressive Patterns

Almost Eden

After Table Rocks, I head southwest out of Grants Pass on 199. I gradually wind and climb my way upward to 2400 feet and the tunnel just inside California. I then speed my way down towards the coast as fast as the twisting Smith River will allow me. It only takes an hour and a half to get to Crescent City, but it never takes me less than four hours. I must stop, as I always do, in the redwoods—God's trees.

The northern California coast still has a few groves that almost transport the soul back to Eden. Jedidiah Smith State Park and Walker Road are two of those. Lush ferns and immense redwoods dwarf the human body, but expand the mind with awe. The towering forest wraps you in a mighty blanket of peace and safety, and at the same time draws you outward and upward as you gaze at the largest trees on Earth. It is a nature experience like no other.

A picture cannot capture the immense beauty, so I share small pieces


"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden." (Genesis 2:9)


The Father and the Son engaged in the mighty, wondrous work they had contemplated, of creating the world. The earth came forth from the hand of the Creator exceedingly beautiful. There were mountains, and hills, and plains; and interspersed among them were rivers and bodies of water. The earth was not one extensive plain, but the monotony of the scenery was broken by hills and mountains, not high and ragged as they now are, but regular and beautiful in shape. The bare, high rocks were never seen upon them, but lay beneath the surface, answering as bones to the earth. The waters were regularly dispersed. The hills, mountains, and very beautiful plains, were adorned with plants and flowers, and tall, majestic trees of every description, which were many times larger, and much more beautiful, than trees now are. The air was pure and healthful, and the earth seemed like a noble palace. Angels beheld and rejoiced at the wonderful and beautiful works of God. {1SP 24.1}

How does one comprehend trees many times larger than redwoods? With what richness did the Creator invest this Earth! With what awe and wonder did Adam and Eve stroll through a garden where gigantic trees were interspersed with delicate flowers and serenaded by trilling birds!

A two minute glimpse into the grove at Walker Road (no sound)


This wren is happy in the redwoods!

You will encounter the state park first as you travel to the coast. I am not a fan of developed campgrounds, but I must admit that our whole family loves this one. It is quiet. It has sites for tents and RV's, four rental cabins, and is reasonably priced. It is right on the river so walk the paths and cross the footbridge over the emerald colored water.

A campsite nestled among the redwoods


Jedidiah Smith offers well-maintained roads, and restrooms with showers


If you don't have time to camp, you can picnic among giants near the river.

After you leave the park the experience is by no means finished. The highway crosses the Smith River, where there are pull outs that let you park to walk back to gaze at the fantasy-like waters or walk side trails.

The emerald waters of the Smith River on a typical foggy day

About a mile past the bridge is Walker Road. Turn right and drive less than 100 yards to enter a world within a world. There are about a mile of trails through groves created by past donations of nature-loving men and women.

Walk silently, even reverently, at the feet of giants that seem to have forgotten that Eden is no longer on Earth. Tread the wide, soft path and be filled with awe at the immensity of redwoods rising as towers out of the ferns. It is good to become as a little child and wonder at the largest living things in the world. The amazing thing is that this grove is small in comparison with those on the Avenue of the Giants along highway 101 south of Fortuna!

Trees the height of football fields!


Ferns as delicate as lace


Mist decorates the leaves with water drops


I have shared only a couple of the easiest ways to get started enjoying the ancient redwoods, but there are other drives and hikes in the area. There are also many biking and boating opportunities as well. It may be a long drive from northern Oregon, but it is well worth it.

Few places let you drive under notched trees!


In addition to the physical relaxation that the redwoods have to offer, they also encourage a spiritual frame of mind that we often forget about in our busy schedules—a sense of wonder. With all the responsibility that our routines entail, we tend to view ourselves and our skills as something big and important. It is easy to drift away from God and view Him as someone small and irrelevant.

But Jesus said, "Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) A walk through the redwoods is a living parable of this truth. There, among living towers, it is easy to sense our smallness. It then becomes easier to sense God's bigness and let Him dwarf our self-importance. In the presence of our Father we can relax and become children again. We can let Him set our priorities, direct our lives, and energize our souls. This is actually scientifically verifiable.

Research was conducted on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, which has a spectacular grove of Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus trees, some with heights exceeding 200 feet — a potent source of everyday awe for anyone who walks by. So we took participants there and had them either look up into the trees or look at the facade of a nearby science building, for one minute. Then, a minor “accident” occurred (actually a planned part of the experiment): A person stumbled and dropped a handful of pens. Participants who had spent the minute looking up at the tall trees — not long, but long enough, we found, to be filled with awe — picked up more pens to help the other person. (from Why do we experience awe?)

The author of the article thinks there is an evolutionary cause for awe and helpfulness, but a better, Biblical explanation is that it they are natural side effects of the work of the Holy Spirit. Whether a person is a believer or not, awe and gratitude are inspired responses when in the presence of wonderful things or a wondrous Person.

In fact, every one of God's children is wondrous and worthy of help. So why not help someone experience the awesome redwood groves of northern California? It really is almost Eden there!


by Ed Lyons, 7/7/17