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As I pedaled away in my Soul Cycle© indoor cycling class this morning, the instructor told us to turn our gears so that we had a ton of resistance, like we were going up a hill. As we pushed on, he exhorted us to think about what we would see at the top of this “hill” and to use that vision to help us get there.

Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP, off Skyline Boulevard. Photo by satosphere, Flickr Creative Commons
Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP, off Skyline Boulevard. Photo by satosphere, Flickr Creative Commons

I thought about cresting the ridge of Skyline Boulevard and heading down into the beautiful, cool, mist-covered redwoods on the other side. Gone was the thumping rap of Eminem. Instead, my mind was filled with the sounds of the forest. The “climb” went surprisingly quickly when I focused on these images.

So powerful is the experience of being in a redwood forest that the feeling stays with me, ready to provide inspiration when I need it. Part of what makes the redwoods so special is that they can give us strength and peace at the same time.

For those of us who live near the redwood forest, we are fortunate that we can go beyond just imagining being there. From my home in the Bay Area, I can visit dozens of redwood parks within an hour’s drive. Once in the forest, the “high” I get from breathing such clean, oxygenated air is even better than the endorphin rush from my other forms of exercise. We are so lucky to have these remarkable forests so close to where we live and work. That is one of the many reasons I volunteer my time as Chair of the Board of Save the Redwoods League.

You, too, can get out and protect, restore and connect with the redwood forest. If you’d like some ideas, check out the League’s Redwood Park Finder and travel guides. You could also volunteer for the League or California State ParksMost importantly, just get out among the trees!


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About Melinda Thomas

Melinda serves as the Chair of the League Board of Directors and was most recently the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence for New York City.


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