The California Blog: Lose Yourself In Sequoia

DSC_0354 copyAfter finishing our tour of Crystal Cave (Read about that blog here!), and eating lunch (should I mention that I stumbled upon a bee hive, and got stung three times? Ah, that will be a good story to tell one day. haha. My fault for wandering off trail.)  We set out to enjoy the Sequoias. We decided to take Congress Trail, which is located near the General Sherman Tree Which we had seen the previous day (Want to read about that, too? Click here). The trail was an easy walk, we took our time and spent the rest of the day amongst these trees.
I really enjoyed how the shadows and burns of the sequoias played a large part in the beauty of the trees, as if the dark shadows and burns just made you appreciate the depth of color of the bright red bark.

Counting Rings

On this trail we truly got to see what the forest fires do to these trees. Oddly enough though, the fires are necessary for their survival. By burning the accumulating down branches, litter, and duff, the fires allow the seeds to reach mineral soil. And in heating the soil, the fire changes the texture of the soil in a way which allows the seeds to be covered by a few millimeters of it.

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Timing of the burn is important, though! One experimental burn took place in August, 1969. Allowing two months of seed fall before winter. On plot #3, which was burnt the hottest, more than 40,000 sequoia seedlings per acre were found, while on plots 1 and 2 which were lighter burned, about only 13,000 per acre germinated. The three burnt plots averaged in nearly 22,000 sequoia seedlings per acre.

Not a single sequoia seedling was found on the unburned control plot.

I had expected the sequoias to have a smooth texture, like most trees do. Perhaps an even harder bark to resist catching fire. To my astonishment, they have a surprisingly fibrous, dry, hair-like bark. Something akin to a coconut’s fibrous  layer.
DSC_0296 copy    And somehow this bark prevents the trees from burning down. The scars they do receive from the fires are impressive. Some trees are hollow, but still live and grow.DSC_0324 copy         You could walk right through this tree, which I did, and got this shot:
DSC_0326 copy                                           The inside had been hollowed out, perfect for making a tunnel.  Sequoia With Scar

And from the other side the scar slid up the tree. As if this tree’s tunnel and scars weren’t enough, it was also growing upon some stones!
DSC_0320 copyWhat an interesting tree. DSC_0331 copyThis next one had a peep hole. See that log in the bottom right corner? That’s a regular tree. These trees were all massive.

DSC_0277 copyAlong the way, we spotted this man taking a nap a little ways off the path. He looked so comfortable, and peaceful. I can only imagine what delightful rest the forest would offer. I do find it hard to believe that he looks so tranquil when he’s using a stone as a pillow. I thought I was a deep sleeper!

And with that we wrapped up Congress Trail.
This is a new one
My friend who is very fond of rivers spotted part of this one from the road. It was really breath taking.
DSC_0366 copyThe water was beautifully clear. I decided to dunk my feet in, and watched small fish congregate around my toes.

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The small town of Exeter lays outside of Sequoia. It’s a really cute quaint town. I absolutely enjoyed walking through it, we decided to stop by Sunday before leaving. If you want to enjoy the shops, you’d be better off going on saturday. Everything closes on sunday. I shaped a few photos I wanted to share.
DSC_0379 copy_This is it DSC_0373 copy_Fotor DSC_0380 copy_Fotor DSC_0381 copyI loved all the murals around this little town.

That concludes our Sequoia trip!

Tell me in the comments below what’s your favorite town to have visited. Have you ever seen the sequoias with their great scars?

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Cut Off Your Long Hair.

CUT IT OUT!

Cancer is something that has been very present in my family. My mother died of breast cancer at 37. So when my daughter told me she wanted to donate her hair to the Ana Gabriela Ross Cancer Foundation, I was not surprised, but knew she was putting her own vanity aside. You see, she has very thick hair, I have often admired it, and others have often complemented her. I often call her my Rapunzel.
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This last week, she came to me and said, “OK Mom, we better chop it off while I have the guts, my hair is long enough now.” She put her hair in a pony tail and I proceeded to cut it. I have to say it took a good amount of cutting and my hand began to tire, but I didn’t want to stop, fearing that I would not cut the hair off correctly. She put it in a zip lock bag and we took it to the Fundacion Ross.
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For women,hair is part of our beauty, just look at all the hair care products on the market, the majority directed to women. So what the Fundacion Ross does is, collect hair ( it has to be 8 inches or more) and send it to the U.S. to have wigs made. The wigs are then borrowed to cancer patients here who have lost their hair. One person’s loss is another’s gain.100_0371100_0371100_0204

I am proud of what she has done. The truth is, I don´t know if I would of had the valor to do the same at her age and would like to thank all those who gave her so much positive feedback. I would also like to thank her for doing something positive towards something that is very present in my heart.
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If you live in Costa Rica and would like to donate hair, check out their Facebook page, especially their wall where people ask questions on how to donate. Or call, they’re very helpful. The information isn’t clearly stated, so if you need help, you can leave a comment here and we’ll gladly help.
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