What is the age when you develop appreciation?
I can't remember the first time I recognized this feeling. A feeling of admiration and awareness that you don't recognize on a daily basis.
I don't remember as a kid being here in Sequoia and Kings Canyon and feeling what I felt like an adult.
An absolute and powerful appreciation for nature.
Mike and I took a road trip to Kings Canyon over Veterans Day weekend in anticipation of long hikes, solitude, and picnics in meadows. We did all that but it wasn't exactly how we planned it. We drove into the park as it started snowing and quickly realized our imagined itinerary might not be as exact as we planned. Living in San Diego and ignorant of weather different than sunny and 72 degrees, we were most likely underprepared for just how cold it was going to be. Oh well. Let's see what happens.
I was happy to see that even through the snow, the November colors came through.
We stayed in the very charming and rustic Grant Grove Cabins. The honeymoon cabin here is one of the oldest structures in the park and the cabins are within walking distance to the John Muir Lodge.
Our first attempt at a hike was supposed to be less than 2 miles to the General Grant Tree. As we set out from our cabin in Grant Grove the snow really began to come down. After several spills onto the ice due to inappropriate hike boots, the inability to feel our faces, no sign of other people or trails we high tailed it back to the cabin to let the weather pass.
This is what you do to wait out the snow.
A couple hours later when the skies cleared and we thawed out, we decided to drive to a trailhead and walk the short loop to see the centerpiece of Grant Grove, General Grant. This tree is the second largest Sequoia in the world and quite awe-inspiring the first time you see something this large.
Our second day gave us clear sunny skies and icy roads. We drove slowly south into Sequoia National Forest to find the largest living thing in the world, The General Sherman and many of it's slightly smaller siblings.
We walked the Congress Trail, developing kinks in our necks from staring skywards and icy tounges from mouths open in awe.
Every so often we would stop and listen to the sounds of the trees. We would have to hold our breath because the sound of our own breathing interfered with the sounds of the forest. The occasional crack of a branch falling, a clump of snow falling from a tree or a whistle of a bird echoed all around us leaving us unable to determine the direction it came from.
Isn't it hard to imagine how long a fire has to burn or how many repeated fires will cause a burnt hollow 3 stories tall? These trees continue to stand year after year and fire after fire.
It's a fortunate person who can take the time from their busy lives and stand still long enough to be able to hear the sounds of the trees.
I hope you get the chance.