• Anahita Safarzadeh

Redwoods & Jägermeister

A short three hour drive north of Los Angeles and we were in Visalia, 102 degrees Fahrenheit of dry heat and vast farmlands as our greeting party. We were too early to check into the hotel, which was fine because we wanted to beat the city traffic. Hampton Inn is a great place to stay anywhere around the country; swimming pool, free hot breakfast, tea and coffee throughout the day, gym and laundry facilities, and a generally helpful and friendly staff. It doesn't hurt that I get a discount with Hilton, so booking this was a no brainier for us.

So what was the mission, why leave Los Angeles, and drive up north? We wanted to see the worlds largest tree. General Sherman, standing almost 84 meters tall, over 2,000 years old, and a volume of over half an Olympic sized pool. It was like seeing a whale on land. The enormous tree, whose branches have witnessed the history and making of the Americas and beyond greeted us with open arms and we watched as sap gently fell from its middle aged body onto the earth, to decompose and start life anew.

Such a simple experience, and afterward we drove back into town, ready to eat lunch, nap, and grab a few drinks. Being that we are from Los Angeles, we didn't expect craft cocktails and rooftop pool bars, but settled for a fifty year old hole in the wall called Pump House where you could choose to spin the wheel for a drink or challenge the bartender over a game of dice. Suffice it to say I’ll always be happy with $4 shots of Jägermeister.

I spent 24 hours in and out of Sequoia National Park remembering stories from my American Literature courses; historic figures like John Muir had left revolutionary footprints among these tree stumps, yet those on the moon stay in our memories more. I felt the need to pronounce his walks, the cabins he touched, and the stories and jokes he told in his memoirs, to my partner as we made our way through brisk trails full of tourists, travelers, and locals out for a nice scenic walk. The park, Home to something extravagant began by rangers as something to protect and nationalize And it seems that today there are no doubts if it’s beauty.

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