Like no other place on Earth, the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park is alive with mystery and wonder. I thought I knew what to expect here, I came for massive trees, but I left with something much, much bigger.

The Mariposa Grove, near Yosemite’s South Entrance, contains about 500 mature giant Sequoias. Giant Sequoias are perhaps the largest living things on Earth.

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Although the oldest giant sequoias may exceed 3,000 years in age, some living specimens of the ancient Bristlecone pine in Nevada, among other places are more than 4,600 years old.

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Below is a picture of the Fallen Monarch: A tree that fell more than three hundred years ago. Giant sequoias are resistant to decay, so their remains can linger for a long period of time if undisturbed.

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This is amazing. Always good to draw analogies between humans and nature, as we are really so intricately part of it.

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The Bachelor and Three Graces: A group of four trees, three of them growing very close together, with a fourth a little more distant. Their roots are so intertwined that if one of them were to fall, it would likely bring the others along with it.

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Below is The California Tunnel tree: Cut in 1895 to allow coaches to pass through it (and as a marketing scheme to attract visitors to the grove), this is the only living tree with a tunnel in it since the fall of the Wawona Tunnel Tree in 1969.

IMG_5758Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress on June 30, 1864 ceding Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley to the state of California. Criticism of stewardship over the land led to the state’s returning the grove to federal control with the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to clear away the debris of worry and woe. Sometimes the best teachers are the ones who say the least, and in the silence of their presence we feel innate wisdom welling up through the cracks of our own lives. The best teachers might be trees.

I have had a few experiences in nature that left me in awe, left me feeling part of the greater cosmos, but this experience tops it all.

Words and Pictures: Daréll Lourens

 

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