Back in March, right around the time that kids dip hard-boiled eggs into glasses of dye, and parents hide dollar bills and candy around the house, I took a trip up north to the Sequoia National Forest with my good friend Sara. There is nothing more soothing in this world than stepping outside of a car and hearing silence. A bird may chirp, and the wind may howl through the trees, but gone is the pollution of planes, automobiles, and construction. Instead of telephone wires, there are canopies. Toppled trees are the new roadblocks. I found myself taking deeper breaths, reaching the full capacity of my lungs, and coming out rejuvenated.
Sara and I spent the first day there hiking a few trails, mainly Giant Stump and Grant Grove. There were crowds, but only around the landmarks. If only they knew what sites to see further on the trail.... As it got dark, we made our way to our AirBNB. A friendly guy named Ronald greeted us with food, baby chickens, blankets and dogs. The sky showed nothing but stars, and frogs sung us to sleep until we rose at 4 am to hike Moro Rock.
One of the most pleasurable experiences in my life is when I am happily out of place. I look around at the pink skies of a new day, dewey trees and an empty road, and all my brain comes up with is, "This doesn't feel real." My heart tingles into my gut and a faint smile lingers on the corners of my lips as I process the concept of a life outdoors.
We set foot on the trail, climbed inside burnt out trees, over rocks, and out to viewpoints. At one viewpoint, we finally found our destination in the distance: the giant structure of Moro Rock, which is less of a rock and more of a mini mountain. We made our ascent, finally reaching the top at around 8 am. With wind whipping our hair and birds flying at eye level, we ate our breakfast of carrots and bars. Sara meditated, I drew – and both of us felt grateful to be up here with someone who could sit in silence on top of the world, relishing in this moment of awe.