Words and photos by Michael Kew
“EXPECT ANOTHER ROUND OF STORM-FORCE WINDS, WITH HURRICANE-FORCE GUSTS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY IN THE VICINITY OF CAPE BLANCO. THIS WILL BE A VERY STRONG STORM. MARITIME AND COASTAL INTERESTS SHOULD TAKE ALL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE LIFE AND PROPERTY.”
By dawn, the damage was done—downed trees, flooding, thousands without power. The swell was huge and ripped apart by 70 mph gusts.
A surf day? No.
None of those for a while.
Late that afternoon I sat on the couch and read “The Super Trees,” a feature in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic. It detailed Mike Fay’s and Lindsey Holm’s Redwood Transect, a yearlong, 1,800-mile, south-to-north hike through California’s coast redwood forests. Flanking their route, they’d found the world’s southernmost grove at Villa Creek in Big Sur; near the article’s end, one line struck me: “On the last day of their transect, as they hunted for the northernmost redwood near Oregon’s Chetco River….”
Wait—I lived on the banks of the Chetco. And coast redwood is Oregon’s rarest type of forest.