Ever since I learned about the redwood trees, probably in some science class, I have wanted to visit them and just marvel at their sheer size. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint. The preserved old growth forests of Redwoods National and State Parks were one of the things that I was most excited for during this extended journey of ours. Tall doesn’t even begin to cut it while describing these trees. Wider than a car and so tall that it starts to hurt your neck looking up at them. It’s a good thing the short trail we went on was deserted, as I’m sure I would have caused a traffic jam – I just didn’t want to stop looking up towards the top of these magnificent trees.
It’s hard to describe the exact combination of feelings I got while being around those trees. Joy. Insignificance. A feeling of being centered. Calm. Peace. Hopelessness. Melancholy. Connectedness. The flurry of emotions both had me believing that this was a place of refuge at the same time I was lamenting the fact that the world is changing so much and the redwoods might not survive what is in store for our future. I can’t imagine attempting to describe the redwoods to future generations. There are only so many synonyms for tall, giant, and magnificent that you can use. It’s really something that you need to discover for yourself. And if we change the world too much, we’re going to have to start using the past tense for describing these beautiful ancient trees. A horrible concept.
Rather than dwell on the disheartening prospect of the future of these trees, I attempted to live in the moment and enjoy the beauty in front of me. Walking through the groves was amazing. Some of the trees had been burned out, so you could walk into the middle of their trunks and look straight up walls of charcoal. The amazing thing (well, one of the amazing things), was that some of these trees still appeared to be thriving in their upper branches. Nature man; it’s incredible.
I did, of course get to hug a tree. And I felt tiny because of it. Our other major highlight while in Northern California was going to the shore of Crescent City, California, and seeing some sea lions. They were just sleeping (well, some of them were sleeping) on some floats within the little harbor. And man, were they LOUD. They apparently just wanted to talk to us.