West Coast Adventure: Orchards and Forests

Sequoia National Forest, CA

Striking lines through goals on my “living list”– [I don’t have a bucket list, because the last thing on any bucket list is dying. I’d rather concentrate on living to the absolute fullest and have a never ending living list, because I’m always adding to it.]

Last month my family ventured to California. We’ve visited countless places out west; Glacier National Park in Montana, the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, even John Wayne’s birthplace. But we’d never made it all the way to the west coast – Never crossed the state line into California – Never reached the Pacific Ocean.

After driving through the Mojave Desert, we made our way through miles of beautiful orange, lemon and olive orchards. We stopped at a few of the fruit stands that dot the highway, buying fresh oranges with insides the color of a harvest moon and a feast of other fruits. I’d have brought an orange orchard home with me if it was at all possible.

Oranges Orchard

Rather than trek all the way to the North West corner of California to see the massive redwoods trees, we opted for the equally enormous sequoias. While the sequoias are not quite as tall as the redwoods [the redwoods can reach 370 ft. while the sequoias top out at 300 ft.], they are twice as wide: up to 30 ft. in diameter.

The forest was absolutely magnificent. We had to drive up a winding mountain, around dozens of pin curves, through a dense fog. One moment we could hardly see the regular sized trees through the fog and the next the fog had lifted and the trees were giants.

The pictures I’d admired nearly all my life did no justice to the moment we broke through the fog and saw the domineering trees. My brother and I had been slightly skeptical the giant trees really existed: I think it was one of those “see it to believe it” moments for us. I’ve truly never felt so small.

[Typical Hoosier move: we packed for “California Weather” – or should I say what we thought was California weather. Once we were up in the mountains, where the sequoias are, the high was 45 degrees, which the park rangers said was completely normal. We were quite the anomaly: us in our shorts, while the rest of the tourist hiked in full winter gear.]

After seeing the sequoias we set off to see the Pacific Ocean – mainly so I could say I’d been from sea to shining sea.

Keep a look out for more entries about my west coast adventure!

~ L.H.