See the Tallest Trees in the World ✓

January 8, 2016

I spent a few hours exploring a place called The Giant Forest. Located in the heart of Sequoia National Park, this forest is home to the longest-living and largest trees in the world. And the king of those Sequoia trees, standing at 2.7 million pounds, 275 feet tall, about 2,000 years old, was…drumroll please… General Sherman!


Greetings, General Sherman! He was so grand, my siblings and I felt the need to bow in his presence.

 

Looking up at Sherman is the equivalent to a mouse looking up at a six foot tall human. He is so large that if you filled his trunk with water, it would provide enough water for 9,844 baths– that’s one bath a day for 27 years. So it’s no surprise tourists gathered around him like paparazzi. I mean, his branches were big enough to be enormous trees. He was so big part of me wondered if the other trees eye the General’s muscly arms and think– Psh. Steroids. In fact, I almost felt bad for the other trees, because they were gigantic, too…. just not Sherman gigantic. Nonetheless, I didn’t want them to feel left out, so I gave them hugs.

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And then I pretended they were giving me hugs back..

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When I was among the Sequoias, I loved them. I felt like they were my friends, and it was crazy to think about how much they’d seen in their lives. It made me think of how much I would experience if I lived long enough to become 2.7 million pounds– forest fires, harsh winters, crazy settlers who wanted to turn you into Sequoia timber, bears, Native Americans, Walt Disney even once tried to turn part of Sequoia National Park into a ski resort. But the Sequoias prevailed, and I found myself feeling honored to be in their presence. So I decided I would start trying to act in a way that showed them I honored them…that the trees were important and really do give me the air that I breathe. I stopped buying paper towels, I try not to waste napkins at restaurants, and mark no to paper mail whenever possible. Very small acts here… definitely not asking for a Champion of the Earth Award..but it’s better than nothing.

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Next, it was off to Yosemite with my family. We matched.

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Why yes Patagonia, we would love to be your models!

 

We had picnics on rocks..

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Napped on rocks..

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Climbed Rocks..

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And watched sunsets.

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Thanks, mama Earth!

 

The first day we arrived, we went for this hike. It was an eight mile hike to a lake. Usually, I would be thrilled to go on an eight mile hike to a lake. But as it turned out, and much to my surprise, this hike was eight miles..in snow…up a mountain. We didn’t have snow shoes. My siblings didn’t seem to mind or complain once, but the whole time I was hiking up the mountain through the snow, which felt an awful lot like hiking up a black diamond ski run (I mean, why would you ever do that?), and I wondered if I was having fun. Is this fun? Do people hike in the snow like this for fun? I tried to pretend it was fun. Here I am in one of Dad’s selfies, having “fun.”

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The snow was quiet and pretty and the trees were beautiful, but my goodness eight miles in the snow up a mountain felt like a lot, especially without proper shoes. But we kept going. I considered quitting because I had a lot of writing to do, but I didn’t want to quit. Especially because there was a beautiful lake at the top of this mountain, and I didn’t want to miss out. I get serious FOMO when I’m around my siblings. I couldn’t let them get fun lake pictures for Instagram without me! I’d already made it up a few miles, what was a few more? I imagined the lake would be otherworldly, like out of Narnia or something. So I kept hiking and sweating and occasionally complaining. Are we there yet???

We’re almost there!  Tripp promised, as we passed some professional hikers in snowshoes. My wool “water-resistant” socks were completely soaked. Are we there yet? I asked again. We climbed and climbed, and I kept thinking lake lake lake. We even had picnics packed in our bags we planned to eat by the lake. I couldn’t wait to see the icy blue water against the snow. It was going to be so beautiful. I was so excited I started running up the mountain towards the top. Almost there! I told myself. And then, when we got to the top…after a lot of sweating and climbing..you know what? There was no lake. Well, there was a lake..somewhere I’m sure….but we couldn’t find it or reach it. The path stopped, and there was only deep powder on top of a mountain surrounded by trees. There was no more path and no lake in sight. And that was it. No lake. Eight mile hike in the snow but no lake. So we sat in the snow under a tree and ate Turkey sandwiches and snickers bars and shared one avocado between the five of us. And maybe it was fun, though I still haven’t decided.

The next day I escaped my family to work on the book, and felt really grateful I could call this place my office :

 

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No sneak previews!

 

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Hammock for one? Gizelle- climb in!

 

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Hello, view!

The next day I skipped the hiking and cozied up at the Awahnee hotel early in the morning and stayed all day by myself to write. I sat by the fire and listened to a man play the Nutcracker on the piano and wrote about Gizelle and it was lovely.

It was so lovely inside the next thing I knew the sun was setting outside. I missed the daylight. I watched the lobby turn to a shade of pink and then the sky turn black out the window.  When the lights went off outside, I realized I had been staring at my bright laptop screen all day, and I should really go for a walk. When I stepped outside, the moon was so bright. The moon was so bright I laughed, out loud, by myself.  I couldn’t believe how bright that moon was. I’d never seen anything like that. It was almost like the moon was saying to me, “Hey! You! You missed sunset because you were writing inside. But don’t forget about me! Hello?! I’m still up here! Don’t forget to admire the sky once a day because you’re too busy staring at your bright laptop screen! I’m brighter than your laptop screen. I am the moon!” So I looked at him, yes him. I suppose there really is a “man in the moon.” I  said hello to him and thanked him for being so bright and beautiful, and then took a picture. This is how bright he was, though it’s of course difficult to tell from an iPhone.

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