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shinrin-yoku: the avenue of the giants

Shinrin-yoku means forest bathing or taking in the forest atmosphere. A Japanese concept from the 1980’s, it is the idea that spending time beneath a forest canopy has preventive and healing health benefits. While there is a small body of science behind this (mostly Japanese and Korean), anyone who has spent time in nature can attest to the restorative benefits of taking a break from urban living and escaping to a place where our stress levels drop and we are invigorated with new energy by our surroundings.

These photographs were made along a 32-mile scenic drive known as The Avenue of the Giants, which runs parallel to Highway 101 on the West Coast. There are more than 50,000 acres of redwood groves with some trees that are more than 600 years old. The groves have existed mostly untouched by humans and everywhere you look you can see the hand of Mother Nature as she laid out her plans for trees, plants and flowers.

How can one not be restored after spending time here?