The world was a thick fog of smoke. It seemed as if I could hardly see a third of the mountains in the distance. The only colors I could see were gold and black, a constant reminder of the fires that had roared through this area in the past decade along with the perfect conditions for it to happen again today. Although I was on my way to Sequoia National Park, it was hard for me to fathom how the world I was currently in could change into a wonderland of giants less than 50 miles away.
Not an hour later though, the world had in fact changed. As I climbed higher up into the Sierras, the smoke had cleared and before I knew it, trees the hundreds of feet tall started to pop up from the ground. At first, a mixture of Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine, but not too much later, gigantic sequoias the width of a van were all I could focus on.
What magnificent beings, Giant Sequoias. They are the biggest living organisms (by volume) on earth and until one is standing next to one, it’s hard to understand what that means. Humans have a hard time interpreting the extreme regions when it comes to scale. Huge becomes relative, a billion becomes the same as a trillion. “Big” is all we understand. But these trees are massive. Unlike the Coastal Redwoods of Northern California, they aren’t the tallest. Some are more than 100 feet shorter. The sheer girth of these things though is astounding. How big do they get? well, some are as big as a school bus so yeah… massive.
I simply had to get out into the depths of this forest to explore a bit. Crescent Meadow sounded like it would be a good place to get lost for a bit. From there, I could branch off into the deeper areas of the forest if I found the main trails too crowded. Soon I was dancing through the colossus limbs of creatures older than Christ.
In todays episode of What Made Me Stop In Awe and Be Humbled we have ancient beings holding the wisdom of millennia.
The deeper I hiked, the more my thoughts kept returning to my drive up and the remnants of fire that plagued the area. It’s known that sequoias and fire have a symbiotic relationship, but recently fires have been getting so hot that even some ancient sequoias have been suffering. Often, we like to talk about climate change in terms of global emissions but the sad truth of it is that its roots often come back to deforestation.
At one time, California (as well as the rest of America) was covered in vast forests. These forests were the life blood of the earth, creating our atmosphere, providing homes for life. holding moisture in the ground. Over the years, we have continually cut them down for resources without thought, scaring the earth.
What once held in moisture is now replaced by dry farmland. There is nothing to stop the fires from raging out of control. The natural fire control mother earth had created is gone and each year the fires become worse.
I had found myself on a ridge line path, higher up and away from the giants. The snowcapped Sierras towered in the distance as I watched the sun set. I couldn’t help but think about the trees.
The sequoias had a relationship with fire but even they fell to deforestation. It saddened me to think about the thousands of monsters that fell to our selfish ways. Now, all we have left is a fraction of the ancients, most protected for the time being, but not guaranteed. Resources are rare but humans tend to think they are endless.
How long will it be until we learn that nature is not?
Sequoia National Park
47050 Generals Hwy, Three Rivers, CA 93271
Closest Supercharger Traver CA
36005 CA-99Traver, CA 93673