On Friday, May 28, I returned on the train from my annual month long "adventure"- a trip alone where I could get into big trouble, but don't. (I would call the other a "disaster.") As usual, it was about visiting natural areas in this country and learning all I can about the native flora and fauna.
I rented a car in Fresno and camped for over two weeks in a tent (to me, that's "camping") in three national parks-Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite. They all feature Giant Sequoias, the major inspiration for my going there, although soon I was branching out into every other natural ingredient of their habitat. Being alone gave me five days of unremitting pleasure in each park, with time to walk many trails at my own speed-slow. (The longer I take to explore a trail or waterway, the more fun I am having.)
I happened upon the perfect natural history guide, written and illustrated by a professional biologist, John Muir Laws, who is a bona fide descendent of the man who saved the Giant Sequoia area for us, and for the rest of the world. John Muir a hundred years ago was the first defender of the small area where Sequoias still live. Half of the visitors in Sequoia National Park spoke another language, whereas many people who live out there never have seen the most imposing trees in the world. And they are unbelievably huge. I saw nine young men stretch their arms around a medium sized one. It would have taken twice that many to hug the biggest one which is 100 feet in circumference. Luckily for the trees, their wood, unlike their cousin's, the redwood, splinter easily when the tree falls so that it was used for making matchsticks and pencils! What a waste of a spectacular living wonder that may have lived 3,000 years.