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The Animal Communicator Blog

Ancient Redwood Friends

Have you ever had the feeling when you’ve just met someone who you instantly and deeply connect with that you’ve known them for eons and lived many lives together? That’s how I feel about my friends, the giant redwood trees, especially the elders.

Like the great whales of the ocean, the wise elder redwoods hold their place on the land with ancient knowledge of our planet’s history. Feeling the sacred stillness of an old redwood forest is like looking into the eye of a whale in the ocean. The essence of your being is tapped in an undefinably profound way.

Only a small fraction of the massive redwood trees were saved from being logged. This was largely by the efforts of
Save the Redwoods League founded over 100 years ago. I’m glad that the redwoods don’t hold short-sighted human actions against us and continue their grand caring for us all.

I returned on many pilgrimages to walk in the ancient forests of coast redwoods and giant sequoias, traveling to most of the public groves in their range from central California to southern Oregon during my 31 years living in California and since moving to Arizona in 2006. The tree that I have traveled to see the most is the largest volume, living, single stem tree on Earth, the giant sequoia called General Sherman. On one trip, my former dog Belinda and Master Sherman, orange tabby wonder cat accompanied me, staying in the car while I did ceremony a short hike down the trail around the giant elder tree.

Serving the Great Ones
When I had enough money to donate, I helped save as many of my giant elder tree friends and their environment as I could. I dreamed of having enough funds to sponsor a redwood grove. In 2012, my vision was fulfilled as Save the Redwoods League put a plaque in the grove I sponsored.
Sign in front of giant redwood treeIt is on the edge of my favorite redwood forest, Avenue of the Giants, a 32-mile-long stretch of the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on the planet in Humboldt Redwoods State Park (about 225 miles north of San Francisco).

Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to help preserve other redwood groves. In late 2019, I was excited to help Save the Redwoods League acquire the largest unprotected giant sequoia property in private ownership left in the world,
Alder Creek Grove on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The spectacular 530-acre property contains hundreds of ancient giant sequoia, 483 of which have a diameter of six feet or larger, including the Stagg Tree, the fifth-largest tree known in the world.

Giant sequoia are among the largest and among the oldest living things and grow nowhere else in the world outside of the western slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada. With the purchase of Alder Creek, we have protected the best of what’s left,

Like all ancient giant sequoia, the Stagg Tree is a veritable wildlife condominium from its canopy to its roots, providing food and shelter for innumerable creatures, including ringtails, northern flying squirrels and several species of bats, owls, and woodpeckers.

Take a look at the awesome Stagg Tree for sheer glory.

Alder Creek is described on the STRL website as
the most consequential sequoia conservation project in over 70 years. The grove is breathtakingly beautiful with alpine meadows of wildflowers and hundreds of ancient giant sequoia, including many more than 2,000 years old.

The beauty of this place is beyond words. Alder Creek Grove is a suspended, mountain bowl of lush, surreal vibrancy of deep greens, of flowers of all colors, of that deep blue sierra sky that makes monstrous silhouettes of the sequoia that surround you at every turn. But beyond the beauty and the sheer massive scale of the forest, there is a spiritual timelessness, a sacred power that is inescapable. To call it humbling and awe-inspiring is almost silly. Walking among these trees that have been growing since the earliest human civilizations changes your understanding of the world and your place in it.

The massive fires raging in California this year did not spare the coastal redwoods or the giant sequoias. In early September, the now 175,000 acre SQF Complex fire roared through Alder Creek and surrounding sequoia groves.

I was looking forward to visiting Alder Creek for a special (socially distanced, self-guided) hike for donors in September, but the fire canceled those plans.

After it was safe to inspect the area, they found the intense fire had killed a few dozen of the great monarch trees. However, most trees survived well with minimal damage similar to that sustained from fires they have weathered for millennia. Here’s the
full report.

A few weeks before the fire, STRL staff had gone to Alder Creek to place plaques in front of trees to honor large donors. “My” tree (photo below) was unscathed by the fire.
Round marker in front of redwood tree
These giant trees help all beings on Earth. They are conscious of being rooted in the earth and also floating in eternity. They are elders, mentors, wise ones who remind us of who we really are. Experience their magnificence in this short video.

Giant Redwood Grove
May we honor the redwoods, all trees large and small, and honor all life on Mother Earth in every breath as they do.

See my blog,
Learning from Trees for more on communicating with trees and my book, When Animals Speak.

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