Squeals of delighted children punctuated the ethereal calm among the world’s tallest trees as Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in California offered an alternative to the bustling urban scramble for Black Friday shopping bargains.

As reported by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, from tots in backpacks to gray-haired seniors, locals as well as visitors from abroad, folks walked the rain-softened trails of the Guerneville park amid sky-scraping giants that date back to about 1,000 years before Europeans first reached California.

Their serenity is as spectacular as their size.

“There’s a quiet in a redwood forest that you don’t get anywhere else,” said Joanna Butler, 63, of Cotati, who was out walking with her husband Sean, 66.

The Butlers did not have one of the 2,500 free park passes distributed by the California State Parks and the Save the Redwoods League as a “Redwoods Friday” promotion to lure people into more than 40 redwood state parks on what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. What they had instead was possibly more valuable: a day off work for Sean, an employee of REI, the retail giant that shutters all outlets on Thanksgiving and the day after.

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