Living in Los Angeles, you can lose sight of nature. You can fool yourself into thinking that life is meant to be concrete, crowded streets, humming automobiles, and emergency sirens. It isn’t until you visit a place like Sequoia National Park and step on a trail like Giant Forest Loop that you are reminded of what life should really be. It should be fresh air, a sense of quiet that startles you and reconnecting yourself to something simpler.
You should find yourself standing on the shoulders of giants as you gaze up and around trees of inconceivable mass. You should feel small and insignificant in the most fantastic of ways. Standing next to one for an obligatory photo, a thought like this runs through your mind, this is what it must have felt like to walk amongst the dinosaurs. You should be reminded life is more than deadlines, spreadsheets, and meetings without purpose.
Of course, this park is famous for its giant residents. If you are serious about hiking, this may mean swimming through crowds of non-hikers for the first couple of miles. Here, I recommend choosing your attitude. Relish in the knowledge that kids aren’t focused on tablets, parents on cell phones, and the elderly with their televisions. Instead, they are free from wires and USB connections. They are with nature. For just a moment, they are holding onto something more important.
As you break free from the crowds, the trees give way to a more traditional forest. The elevation begins to rise, and this hike starts to feel like a challenge. On our visit, we hiked for 10 miles and gained some 1,900 feet in elevation. Four hours of stopping to take in vistas, admire lizards, listen to the singing of birds, and rest, filled my soul in unimaginable ways. Sequoia challenged me in ways other trails had not. It gave me something to love about my time in California. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
Before returning to the car for a three-hour drive back to LA, we soaked up more silence and inspiring vistas. Then, we were treated to something rare. Over the course of the next hour, we made visual contact with five different black bears. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. As we stood at a safe distance, I was reminded that we were guests in their home. We were the intruders. They and their kind were here long before us and, if all goes as planned, will be here long after us. Then and there, I decided to end our temporary holiday. The bears deserved to get back to their normal lives.
Be good to each other,
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