Canyon Fall, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

 

Photograph by Jack Ellwanger

A five mile long crystalline granitic block in McWay Canyon embraces a 12,000 year old redwood. McWay Creek, which ends its journey to the ocean in a dramatic 80-foot drop onto the beach at McWay Cove, winds here through the granite and redwood. The redwood's age is estimated by the visible iterations of the tree. A coastal redwood does not die unless severed from its underground network of branches. When the top is blown down by wind or knocked off by lightening shoots grow in its place and become a new tree in the same tree.