Designed by Julia Dagger (JuliaTrouble) and occupying a Mainland sky platform The Redwoods offers people a chance to escape to a corner of Second Life devoted to nature in the form of a setting that might have been lifted from southern California’s Sequoia National Park.
It is a location that is exceptionally easy on the eye where, thanks to the design and the sound scape, it is possible to genuinely lose oneself in a sense of being deep within Nature’s realm. It’s also – on the surface at least – easy to explore; but as with many things in Second Life, actually holds a secret.
Tucked into the south-east corner of the setting and almost entirely ringed by cliffs, the landing point offers a map marking the the park and its trails. While in keeping with the sense of being within a national park, this map and the others like it aren’t really necessary, as the trails through the landscape are clearly and pleasantly laid out, complete with logs to form natural steps down and over the slopes and undulating ground.
A short distance from the landing point, the path divides, one arm running both north and west to where the lake sits, an open space within the the tall sequoia trees, both fed by and feeding the park’s streams. Around the lake’s shores can be found benches on which to sit, and a camp site tucked into the shade of the trees, while a boat and a deck offer over-the-water places to sit as well.
The second branch of the track runs along the edge of the stream that feeds into the lake, and which is in turn fed by waterfalls to the north-east. This stream largely splits the land in two, separating the main trails through the trees from the park’s lodge.
An expansive structure, reached by way of two bridges over the stream, the lodge offers indoor and outdoor seating and the kind of information counter one might expect in such a place. It’s a cosy place to rest and / or appreciate the local comings and goings and is overlooked by a small cabin sitting on a square block of rock. With no visible means of getting up to it, I assume the latter is a private retreat, rather than a further space for visitors to spend time, and so we didn’t investigate it further.
As noted above, the setting is easy on the eye and easy to explore, whether on foot or on the back of a wearable horse – but it does have a secret, one that is best found on foot. Tucked away completely out of sight is a little bar. Of an unusual design, you’ll have to search for it to find it, and I don’t want to give its location away. Suffice it to say, walk as far as you think you can, and then go through the precipitous curtain beyond the log camp – just mind the first step!
In days when we can too easily feel as if home life is closing in around us, and walls too close for comfort, The Redwoods offers a sense of pushing those walls back and presenting us with a chance to appreciate woodland walks and the sensations of witnessing sunlight through high branches, the call of clear flowing water always close by.
In short, it presents a sense of freedom and escape, whether you wander the trails, sit in one of the camp sites our tuck yourself away within a hammock under the trees, thus making it a perfect visit.
- The Redwoods (Cha, rated Moderate)