So, Lune and I went to Sequoia this past Memorial Day Weekend (a holiday in the USA), and we were hoping to find the Lost Woods. We’re going to post a small rough little video later on so you can see everything in action, but I’m kind of a terrible camera op so it might be complete fail!
Anyway! Upwards and Onwards! We got up at around 6:00 AM and were extremely groggy. I quickly threw together a healthy breakfast and put on some coffee, since Lune can’t function without it (so amusing… Joellen can’t function without it either… Poor Link and Zelda can’t handle their day without their caffeine fix!!!), and then packed a big lunch. By 7 AM we were off, and it took us till 8:30 to get to the park. At that time of morning on a Sunday, the park was pretty dead. Most of the people who were camping there were still sleeping, and the commuting tourists don’t generally arrive until after noon at least.
After paying our $20 to get in, we proceeded to wind deep into the park in search of the first trail to discover. I carefully plotted us along the park map, and chose General Sherman’s tree as our first adventure. I actually just wanted to see General Sherman, and I knew that it would be less Lost Woodsy and more touristy, but I was kinda being a tourist too!
On our way there, we encountered a friendly bear who was more interested in chewing on the wood log in front of him than the two of us taking his picture.
Beyond the bear, we arrived at General Sherman’s tree. I was surprised to see that there was snow everywhere. Today, as I post this, it is June 1st. It was only May 30th when we went, and I wasn’t expecting there to be so much snow in nearly June! After experiencing the heat in Fresno last year in summer time, I was certain it would have all melted only 50 miles away. Shows what I know.
The park decided that nobody was allowed to go see General Sherman, but that didn’t stop us! We climbed right over the barricade, and hiked down to where the massive tree was. Funny enough, tons of people were down by General Sherman with the same idea as us, and there was even a Park Ranger there as if it were a normal non-barricaded day. I guess the park knew that people like us would not stop because of some ole plastic barricade, so they had to have someone there to watch the General and protect him!
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the General, but I knew I couldn’t stay there, we had work to do! So, we hiked back to the car, and proceeded to locate an area of the woods we could explore that was off the beaten path. Luckily, about a mile or so down the road, we encountered a huge fallen tree. We pulled the car over, and climbed down the steep embankment into the large grove of trees.
Needless to say, they were huge and very impressive! There was moss covering many of the surrounding trees, and in this area there was less snow than in other places. It was gorgeous, with a rushing stream and massive fallen trees that we could climb over. We half joked/half hoped that we would find a hollowed out log that we could walk through, that alone being something that would sell the location to me! But alas we never did end up finding anything like that, except in one place! Unfortunately, the one place where there was a hollowed out log, a hermit had once built a house there!
Known as Tharp’s Log, he is credited as the original finder of the giant forest (not John Muir according to the plaque in front of the house) and would come to live there in that house/log hybrid in summer time.
As the day went on, we pretty much discovered only similar trees to these. I suppose in a way, I had expected what I saw. I had researched ahead of time what the vegitation was like in Sequoia, so I wasn’t surprised to see the ground as brown and covered in pine needles. The beauty in the forest was breath taking, and it was overwhelming to be in the presence of something so massive and ancient. The forest was truly a remarkable anomaly of nature, but it was not the Lost Woods that I was searching for. What I truly wanted, was somewhere foggy and misty with lush vegetation and huge trees. I wished with all my heart that it could have been Sequoia, but alas this area of California is too dry for something of that nature.
We ended up hiking a total of 12 hours that day, and covered over 10 miles. Unlike Lune, who is a seasoned hiker and wore cleated boots, I was not really outfitted in my non-grip tennis shoes to be climbing around in the snow. I fell a dozen times in numerous places, and by 7 PM I was covered in mud. It was more hilarious than anything else, because I kept sliding around and losing my footing. After a while, Lune gave up trying to protect me from my own bumbling lack of balance, and just started laughing at my misfortunes. It was hard not to laugh though, considering I decided it would be a fantastic idea to wear a white hoodie out hiking!
Still, it was an absolute blast exploring this forest, despite the multiple bear encounters which left me having bear-related nightmares later that night, and I would recommend this place to anyone who needs to go somewhere to rekindle their inspiration for life. If anything, you can go so that you can hug something 3000 years old!
In the meantime, our next scouting mission is in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. This was the place where they filmed Return of the Jedi, as well as parts of The Lost World. It just so happens that this was the place I truly wanted to shoot at, and Ben happens to be taking a family hiking trip up there in 2 weeks. So stay tuned so you guys can read a review on what that location is like. Perhaps there we will find The Lost Woods? Hopefully it doesn’t stay lost forever !!!