Written by Jiarui Ye
“This is an evening to quote John Muir: “The forests we so admired in summer seem still more beautiful and sublime in this mellow autumn light. Lovely starry night, the tall spring tree tops relieved in jet black against the sky. I linger by the fire, loath to go to bed.’ Was not the glory around worth our trek up the new road and into the forest of giants?” - Charbonneau, Waltzing in Ragtime (A Photo by Jiarui Ye)
I always found it interesting how even the most turbulent nature can try and achieve zen with deep nature-air breathing techniques. Here, in Sequoia National Forest, I have never seen such majesty and scale to deal with upsetting moods. The forest of giants has repeatedly proven that it is a worthy place to visit rich with colors and variety. Even following a relentless storm, I see the huge forest enveloping itself with curiosity, as I seek sanctuary in the forest. Like the famed Children of the Forest in Game of Thrones, I could not help but wonder if I would become just as magical as the latter—or maybe it was just the excitement of being here for the first time that caused my irrational comparisons.
As I begin my journey to the Sequoias, I turn onto the US 134 freeway for exactly 3 hours and 24-minutes. I journey onto the 110 and then the 5 driveway. 77 miles later and I am past the point of exhaustion, but another 31-mile trek is left as I now start winding on the spirally and slippery roads. 88 miles left on this game of twister, as I patiently wait for the aura of the forest to uplift my spirits and dampen my clothing.
As the sky opens and the sunlight floods the trees with light, the worry slips my face. The replacement is an enjoyable one, the park is very large. The lush scenery is welcomed in a time of cold and difficult aches. Winter is still here as snow begins to slowly flow down attempting to intimidate me. The original member of the Sierra Club and the subject of many paintings and artworks over the years have now become reality as women, men and children take in the musty scent of oak and wood. The five large areas: The Giant Forest and Lodgepole, Grant Grove, Cedar Grove, Mineral Hills, and the Foothills, all have specialties. I particularly enjoyed trekking through small ponds filled with leaves and any other vegetation. These amazing trails are found at the Foothills and Mineral Hills. Watching back, I hoped that I learned more about myself in my expedition through the Sequoia's.
During this visit, I am suddenly brought back to the very old painting of the Sierra Club’s mountains. That intoxicating beauty and astonishment are represented by Olana's, the protagonist and daughter of lumber baron, own struggle of recognition in the novel, Waltzing in Ragtime written by Eileen Charbonneau. As Olana struggles to find herself and her voice, she views the sequoia tree as a symbol of security and safety. She knew that nature needs preservation, expressing,
“there is infinitely more beauty in a fine chair than in the tree that provides the raw material,” (Charbonneau, 26-27).
Olana’s own salvation through love and work is almost laughable when comparing it to the story of the forest but yet here we are. Over the years, Olana will come to understand that when things are fleeting, finding somebody - even yourself - as sturdy as a sequoia, to lead you into a life, will bring an abundance of love and joy.
Turbulence will always be present in our human lives. However, finding a strong and beautiful sequoia will open many doors for you—and that includes finding peace and serenity at last.
On the edge of your seat yet? Come back next Monday for travel blog #3 in this 5 part travel blog series!
Jiarui Ye is a student majoring in finance and business with a passion for travel writing. She says, "Ever since my first encounter with a faulty review on Tripadvisor, I hav been actively writing about my experiences and sharing tips with others."
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