Stanley Shaw gets inspired by the ancient giant sequoias of Alder Creek
I went backpacking for the first time this past Memorial Day weekend with my colleague Adam Kaplan at the League’s Alder Creek property. It was the first time either of us had been there. We linked up with the League’s sequoia restoration and stewardship manager Tim Borden on Saturday along with his new, hyper pup Mickey. Together, the four of us had a grand time stargazing, viewing the Stagg Tree (fifth largest tree in the world, as most of you already know!), and hiking uphill through the giant sequoia grove just above camp. While the nights were cold (dropping down to ~0°C/32°F), the daytime provided an amazing blend of foggy and sunny weather. Sometimes, Tim and Adam would remark how it was like we were in a coast redwood forest instead of being out in the Sierra Nevada.
The most impactful part of the weekend for me was walking through the grove. The contrast of the first half of the hike (walking past plenty of big and live sequoias) and the second half (with burned sequoia pieces strewn across the ground or protruding skywards at a fraction of their former height) was incredibly stark. It drove home how close we were to losing such a magnificent place, and how high the stakes are now for the future.
During the hike, Tim pointed out some baby sequoias—no more than an inch in height—growing out of the ground. It’s been a while since I last saw one, and I forgot how absolutely diminutive they are starting out. But it gives me hope that people in the future will, as Adam said to me at one point (and I’m paraphrasing), still have the world’s best and tallest chiropractor to look up to.