Shrouded in fog and bearing dense, labyrinthine canopies hundreds of feet in the air, redwoods remain mostly a mystery because of their formidable size and scope. But nothing could stop several courageous and curious scientists from getting as up close and personal as humanly possible to the world’s tallest trees.
Trees are living, breathing beings; it’s easy to forget. Even those among the mightiest of them—the coast redwood, for instance—can seem mundane, ubiquitous in everyday signage, their timber hidden in the bones of Northern California buildings and homes. But to some, man’s connection to trees can be almost palpable.
In the summer of 1917, three men had a collective vision. Beneath the 300-foot-tall ceiling of an airy cathedral of ancient trees in Humboldt’s Bull Creek Flats, soft beds of redwood sorrel underfoot and golden rays beaming through the canopy overhead, they found the inspiration to change the course of history.
Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove of Giant sequoias is expected to reopen this fall after a multiyear restoration. In addition to red giants standing higher than a 30-story building, visitors will find new, wheelchair-accessible trails and boardwalks, roads converted into hiking trails, and an interpretive display of a fallen ancient giant.