The morning on our way traveling out of the Yosemite National Park and back to San Francisco, we took a quick visit to the famed Mariposa Grove: the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite Park (although the Giant Forest we visited in Sequoia National Park was similarly impressive). There we saw the Grizzly Giant, the Faithful Couple, and other monumental ancient sequoias, including the California Tunnel Tree: carved out in the 19th century to create a “drive-through” tunnel in order to attract tourists, it is still alive and healing the massive wound to its trunk.
We were also treated to an up-close show of a Douglas squirrel, aka chickaree—one of Muir’s most beloved creatures, to which he dedicates a vivid chapter of The Mountains of California:
“Though only a few inches long, so intense is his fiery vigor and restlessness, he stirs every grove with wild life, and makes himself more important than even the huge bears that shuffle through the tangled underbrush beneath him. Every wind is fretted by his voice, almost every bole and branch feels the sting of his sharp feet. How much the growth of the trees is stimulated by this means it is not easy to learn, but his action in manipulating their seeds is more appreciable. Nature has made him master forester and committed most of her coniferous crops to his paws.” —John Muir
Check out the gallery below for photos of Mariposa Grove and a video clip of the Douglas squirrel chirping and collecting sequoia bark for its nest:
Over the next several months I will be crafting the photographs and videos I’ve captured into an immersive multimedia installation for the web bringing together these visuals with John Muir’s writings and my musical interpretations. (See this post for more information.) Stay tuned!
Return to the On the Road to Capture John Muir’s Yosemite to view the other entries in this series.