More views of the Roughs. I posted a picture earlier this year a few miles north from this area.
This unique area is where large blocks of sandstone have been offset from the rest of the earth through tectonic processes. A large fault called the Eaton Roughs Fault Zone runs between the Mad River and the Van Duzen. There is a good description of the area for all you geology nerds here. The processes have created these strips of sandstone where apparently some layers have more developed soils than others. Most of the areas are barren, and have sporadic communities of manzanita and whitethorn. Then there are the junipers? over a understory of various manzanita species. Lastly, where layers have better developed soils, there are strips of Douglas-fir forests. This has to be one of the most interesting landscapes in Humboldt County.
Rare forests in the Van Duzen River Watershed
This oak woodland is not going through the encroachment problems many oak stands are. A rare sight these days.
If its Sierra (western) juniper it is well out of its range. California and common juniper are both in coastal CA, but has anyone ever seen them form into trees like this? I have not, nor could I find any pictures online that resembled the form these do.
I had a hard time keying the leaves I took, obviously seeing the cones would have helped, but alas no berries in the winter. Any ideas?
Or something like that. Its possible that there is a never ending supply of amazing rock formations in Humboldt County.
There are places you encounter where the Earths surface shows evidence of some ancient cataclysm. Where the Van Duzen narrows near Eaton Roughs there are huge rock formations that cover large areas like this one. These areas are urban neighborhoods for small mammals.
Your imagination can run wild with possibilities considering how and why this old truck ended up smashed into a old growth stump. Regardless, the ruins of mankind make for great habitat. The truck had been converted into a wood rat hotel, which is the preferred food of the spotted owl. And balance is achieved…
This was the best part of the day. The next 8 hours consisted of crawling through some of the densest brush you can imagine over the steepest topography the Eel has to offer. Not that Im complaining…
For perspective, that old growth Douglas-fir is about 180 feet tall, and the spire next to it about 100 feet tall.
This is the Avenue of the Giants where the South Fork hits the main stem Eel. The story I heard is the bridge, which was built in the 60s, was modified some time in the 1990s to accommodate for the growth of the tree. Do you see the notch in the concrete?
Here are some pics from a project this summer. This property is in the South Fork Eel and less than a mile from where the Canoe Fire was stopped in 2004. That fire burned over 11,000 acres mostly in the State Parks. Many redwood forests are are at a higher fire risk than people think. First of all, it may surprise you to know that the fire return interval in redwoods was 6-15 years. Frequent low intensity fires were very common in redwood forests in part due to indians starting fires, but also the the massive amount of biomass (feuls) redwood and tanoak forests produce annually.
The Canoe Fire was a wake up call for many people who live in the South Fork and the proactive landowner will takes steps to reduce fire risk and make fighting it easier. In this case, the objective was to create a shaded fuel break along the main roads, as well as remove invasive species that had taken over on old log landings and ditches along the road (namely scotch broom). This practice reduces the intensity of fire as it moves into the fuel break making the road itself a potential fire line. It also improves the productivity of the trees near-by which will grow larger crowns, slowing understory growth, and thus reducing the development of ladder fuels within the fuel break.