Living Amongst Giants: 1170km

“The secret of happiness is freedom.”

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The redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. There are two types in California, the Sequoia, and the Sequoiadendron (Coastal Redwood), and both species are true giants. These trees can live from 2,000-3,200 years old (depending on their species), can grow up to 375 feet tall, and weigh 500 tons! The most impressive aspect about these threes though is their girth. These are the kind of trees twenty-five people can hug at the same time, and still not touch. They are incredibly resistant to fire, insects, and disease because they have a foot-thick bark protecting them. Unfortunately, this bark has done nothing to protect them against their only predator, humans, who have successfully cut down 95 percent of their population. The remaining trees are now in four different state parks throughout California.

Besides the giant trees, and other fascinating giant in the area is the elk. There are elk viewing areas along the highway every few miles, and the elk really seem to just stand there waiting to be viewed. As much of their forest has been cut down, and what is left is now used for camping and hiking, the elk all crowd around in the few fields they can find.

All this majestic beauty comes at a price though. Instead of the nice small highway I am use to, 101 has turned into a freeway used by thousands of rushed commuters. Now that there are no cows and horses to talk to (or moo at) on the nice small country roads, I have found myself whistling the same five second tune over and over to keep myself occupied. At one point today I caught myself mid-repeat (for about the fiftieth time), and instead of stopping or changing the song, I smiled to myself and just kept on whistling. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m biking by myself, anyone biking along side me would think I have gone crazy!

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