Calaveras Big Trees is a small California State Park in Arnold, CA off Hwy 4, which was home to the magnificent Pioneer Cabin Tree a GIANT Sequoia that has been estimated to being over 1,000 years old. For goodness sake, that tree was here way before the birth of the United States of America.
The "Atmosphere River" of January 7-8, 2017 slammed into California, bringing in rain and strong winds from the coast to the Sierras. Sadly, the Pioneer Cabin Tree could not withstand this storms force and came crashing down on Sunday, January 8th.
What I've noticed the most is the public sadness over social media about this tree. If you think about, it's just a tree...something that grows out of the ground. Then why all the sadness?
As I look through all the tribute pictures about the Pioneer Cabin Tree, I notice one thing...memories. Memories of friends hanging out doing silly poses, wagons being pulled by horses, engagements, families celebrating their first hikes with their babies, picnics, honeymoons, trail running, the memories go on and on.
Fall of 2015: My only Pioneer Cabin Tree memory was sitting there looking at the giant tree and feeling conflicted. I loved the awesomeness, the grandeur of the tree but was saddened to know that it only had one living branch left and was pretty much dying.
At the same time as I was having these deep thoughts, I wanted to get a perfect picture of my family in the tunnel but my 7-month old son started screaming his head off. I tried to get us together but said screw it and took a random pictures of my family walking away from the tree with screaming baby in it.
I'm glad I took those pictures, my "not picture-perfect" pictures of the Pioneer Cabin Tree and I will cherish them forever. What this tree (and nature) provided was the setting for special memories to be created. People are selfish in nature and when people stand in front of any giant sequoia tree, we realized that the world does not revolve around us. A tree like this humbles us, helps us create memories and creates hope for the future.
I am sad that the Pioneer Cabin Tree has "passed" but if you know anything about sequoia trees is that when the "mother" tree dies other trees grow around it in a circle. The Pioneer Cabin Tree will continue to give life to all around it as it returns to "Pachamama" or Mother Earth. So turn your sadness into happiness that even in it's death, it is giving life to the next giant sequoia.
You can also join in on my Social Media, which is updated daily with outdoor activities. Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment below!