General Sherman Tree

I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to see the Sequoias. It’s one of those Bucket List things. So, here we are in California for the first time. We flew into Los Angeles and then headed northeast through some of the most bizarre landscape I’ve ever seen! So stark and treeless! After a windy drive up along the Kern River filled with more awe-inspiring sites than I can name, we arrived at our destination near Isabella Lake. I’ll forego the description and disappoint with our first lodging. What was supposed to be a seven-day base camp turned into a two night nightmare and we moved on. Now, I’ve traveled a lot in Pennsylvania, but nothing prepared me for the drive up to the Trail of a 100 Giants. Amazing, unbelievable beauty, incredible starkness gave way to majestic wonder, and then we were there. Seeing just the trunk  of the first Sequoia—it’s massiveness—was shocking. And then I looked up! Oh, wow! It’s beyond words!

We had left our less-than-desirable-lodging at 6:00 AM and arrived at our destination at 7:00. We had the half-mile loop to ourselves—giants in our midst! I cried! In complete silence, except for the occasional scurrying steps of a critter, we walked and looked and enjoyed the moment. Then we drove…

This drive was not so awe-inspiring! Remember the forest fires of 2021 and 2022? We saw the damage. Mile after mile of what would have been beautiful visas were completely covered with the charred ruins of the fire’s destruction. It broke my heart. It took us over an hour to get back down to the flat, dry, miles of irrigated fruit farms through countless hairpin curves, to the point of car sickness.

So, after all that, do we repeat the same trip just an hour further north—leave the flats and wind our way back up to the 6,000 feet elevation level? What, to see more Sequoias and yes, General Sherman—the grandest of them all, the biggest tree in the world? Yes! Praise God for a wonderful husband who said, “We’ll probably never be here again. You wanted to see them.”

Up we went. This time in a string of cars, which, quite frankly, was comforting after the last desolate ride. Beautiful sights. Some burns. And then into first grove of trees. Thankfully, our car had a sunroof. There’s only so many words you can use to describe the wonder! Overwhelming, grand, breathtaking, splendid, tremendous, remarkable, amazing, awe-inspiring, astounding, humbling, fearsome! (Got that out of my system!)

When we got to the General Sherman Tree parking area, the thunder started to rumble. It was lightly raining as we walked the half-mile down into the grove. I felt sort of bad for all the other giants. There were SO MANY! They just weren’t the biggest. And then it was there, right in front of me! Oh my! I tear just remembering it!

That tree SHOUTS praise to the glory of God! Only God can make a tree, and only God could allow that tree to be there still. There have been bigger trees, but they’ve fallen. Man is working hard to preserve that tree, and I’m so thankful for all their work, but only God can protect this natural wonder.

Standing there looking up at something that has been on this earth for nearly 2,700 years reminds us of our smallness.    It towers upward to 275 feet. Its size can’t be appreciated because it is surrounded by other Sequoias but consider that the average Sugar Maple tree grows to 60-70 feet. Insignificance—that’s what I felt standing in its shadow. And yet we are the ones that are created in God’s image. We, every human being, are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).

I came away wet because it really started to rain, but also filled with wonder at the power of our mighty God. It’s sad to me that so many people look at that tree and never think about its Creator. And yet, maybe they do. If Jesus said that the rocks would cry out and praise God, just think of the voice of that tree and its message! “ I’M BIG BUT GOD IS BIGGER. I’M GREAT BUT GOD IS GREATER! DON’T LOOK AT ME—LOOK AT THE GOD WHO MADE ME AND KEPT ME ALL THESE YEARS!

General Sherman Tree

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:12,13

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