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Nature's Cathedral

TO ANSWER THE QUESTION "What's there?" with the Neanderthal truth of "big trees" hardly does justice to the majestic and almost spiritual beauty of the towering giants at the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. Whether you park outside the entrance and trek in on foot, cycle in for free, or drive in at the reasonable price of $5 per carload, the core experience is about getting out among the massive trunks of these ancient evergreens. With acres of foliage overhead to filter out noise and direct sunlight, the duff-covered grounds are soft, quiet, and--at the right times of the year--home to a remarkable variety of colorful fungus, including the redwood orchid. Wild banana slugs are the most visible fauna, if you don't count the strings of horses ready to carry riders up the hillside at the back of the park to the magnificent expanses of the Austin Creek Recreation Area. But that's another outing. 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville; open every day from 8 am. until an hour after sunset. Also offers special interpretive walk for the disabled and the blind.--B.R.

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From the March 27-April 2, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent

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