On our recent trip to Kernville that we took to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary (!!), we drove about 35 miles from the lodge to visit Giant Sequoia National Monument, home of the Trail of 100 Giants. Spoiler alert: the giants to which the trail refers are giant sequoia trees.
When they say giant, they aren’t kidding. I used Sean as a prop to demonstrate scale. I had to crouch down and still couldn’t get the top of the tree in the frame. That’s how tall they are.
Like, for real, really really tall. Really old too! The oldest ones are something like 1500 years old! That’s when my great-great-great-great-great-great-ten more greats-grandparents were alive. I think I did that math right. It’s really beautiful and crazy to me that some things in nature survive through so much chaos and life and death in the world.
A lot of the trees have a big opening in them, big enough to crawl inside. It seems to be the result of two or sometimes three trees fusing into one over time. Sean made me step inside two of them, but I freaked out and felt claustrophobic. It was pretty cool though. Inside a giant hollow tree, where a family of bears might sleep, it was surprisingly quiet, like stepping inside a closet and closing the door.
This is me next to the “fallen giant,” a tree that fell over. I asked Sean if a gigantic tree fell in the forest and there were some people around to hear it, would it make a sound, and he said yes, a very loud sound. We could see all the roots (which were five times as tall as Sean, on their side like that). Despite their immense height, giant sequoias’ roots only extend a few feet into the ground. It seems miraculous that these trees can remain standing for so long with such a minuscule foundation.
It’s grounding to surround yourself with really big, really old nature. It makes you think about how small you really are in the world, but how you’re a part of that nature and it’s a part of you, in a way. It made me reflect on all the people who wandered near these very same trees before me, and how many people will after me. Sometimes you can’t see the forest because you’re so focused on all the trees. Sometimes, though, you see a bunch of insanely big trees, and you finally start to see the forest a little bit.
All the best,