It seems that life keeps moving faster and faster these days. Here in the Silicon Valley, where fortunes can be won or lost in an instant — especially in the real estate market, life has become “virtually unsustainable”. A studio apartment in Palo Alto for $1.2 million? Who can afford that?
Recently, I took a road trip with my sweetie to Eureka, California, home of the giant redwood trees. We made our way up the coast, one Victorian Bed & Breakfast at a time. Life is slower up north. We thought we lived in Northern California, but we don’t. We live in “Central California”, we have decided. Silicon Valley is not Northern California. Mendocino on up is Northern California! As we traveled through picturesque farmland, redwood forests, and quaint Victorian towns, the stress started leaving us. I hugged every tree I could find. There is something magical about standing next to a giant redwood tree. You can feel the energy vibrating off it. The trip was adventurous, but relaxing, and I will probably do another post on all the fabulous places we stayed. The main thing I tried to do was really, truly, unplug.
I only used my phone as a camera. 😉
As we had to start making our way back to civilizaton, the stress started sneaking back over us, one town at a time. It was awful. So awful, in fact, that once I was back at home, in my groove, I realized that I HAD to be in nature. Daily. It was not optional. I set about finding all the redwood forests I could that were near enough to San Jose for a quick jaunt. If I’m really desperate, I go to the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, which has a wonderful grove of redwoods all around the perimeter of the garden.
I also found Redwood Estates, which is a quick run down 17 South, in Los Gatos. Of course, I’m also lucky enough to have a redwood tree in my backyard. I am in the process of sprouting a few new baby trees, to accompany the one I have.
“A-huggin’ and a-chalkin'”: When you meet a tree that is too big to hug in one go, you have to go “a-huggin’ and a-chalkin'”. This means that you hug as much as you can, create 2 chalk marks, and run around the other side and hug the rest. 😉
A little background
Redwoods need to live in groups. They support each other underground, by creating a network of roots that become knit together, in a surprisingly shallow, horizontal fashion. One lone tree will not survive nearly as well as one tree in a group of his redwood friends.
When the trees become tall enough, they actually are capable of creating their own micro-climate – sending mist and fog down from their canopies into the forest. Officially, the oldest living coastal redwood is at least 2,200 years old, but foresters believe some coastal redwoods may be much older.
You can commune with old-growth redwoods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park on trails such as the Redwood Trail, the Berry Creek Falls loop and the Sunset-Timms-Skyline loop; at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park’s Redwood Grove Loop Trail and at Portola Redwoods State Park, where you’ll see the third-largest grove of ancient redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains—as long as you’re willing to take an 11-mile round-trip hike to get there!
See more at Ten Amazing Fact about Redwoods.
So, in summation, get out there and hug some trees. You won’t realize how stressed out you are until you’re standing in a grove of giant sequoia trees, being still. Just being. Go ahead – get a crick in your neck. Be humbled. Look up. And breathe. We did. And we loved it.