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Sunday Aug. 2, 2020

I feel so off the grid here! No WiFi, no Facebook, no WordPress, no news, no email. Of course I’ve been without these things before, but that was before they existed. To make it worse, John’s system works just fine. He has Verizon, I have AT&T. That may be the difference. Or not.

But it’s so beautiful up here. We drove along the winding General’s Highway to Sequoia this morning, stopping at Lodgepole Visitors’ Center to look in the gift shop’s dim and half-empty shelves, curiously low on stock for the summer season. The museum and restaurant were closed.

Drove to the Sherman Tree parking lot and marveled anew at the size of the giant sequoias. The parking lot was almost full and the path down to the tree was crowded. People wearing masks waited patiently in line to get their picture in front of the tree with the sign in front of it. We just walked past and John skillfully got a quick shot of the tree between families. Then he ran up the steep path to the parking lot, drove down, and picked me up in the lower lot, saving me the hard climb back.

I first saw this meadow at the age of six. I’ve come here with my children and this year I hoped to bring my grandchildren.

The highlight of the day was the almost deserted trail to Crescent Meadow, and beyond to Huckleberry Meadow, Thorp’s Tree, and Chimney Tree. It’s a fairly level loop trail which I have walked before, a little over two miles and rich with memories. Ever fascinated by the idea of living in a giant fallen tree, I was determined to see Thorp’s log one more time, and I made it, but I had a hard time on the way back at that altitude. I may not make it again, but the beauty of the scented redwoods standing tall in the fern- carpeted forest floor stays with me.

Thorp’s Log, tunneled under a fallen redwood log, still has his table and bed inside.

There were few people on the trail, which may be due to a lack of publicity around the park,since so many things are closed and there are no ranger talks or boards with trail information. Instead the crowds had left the Sherman Tree to line up in their cars to go through the fallen tree with a tunnel through it. I’ve never understood the attraction, but they were having a lot of fun.

We got stuck in this line because it was the only way out. A car would pull up to the tree tunnel, one person, usually Mom, would get out, run through with the camera, the car would pull up and stop under the tunnel, Dad and kids would wave through windows and stand up through the sun roof to touch the tree overhead, while Mom ran back and forth in front taking pictures, and everyone laughed hysterically except the twenty cars waiting their turn. And us. We just wanted to get out on to the road.

When we finally did, there was no place to eat lunch because lunch was over at 2 and dinner didn’t start until 5:30. All meal are outside here at fixed times, all outside. But the weather has been pleasant and I brought snacks, so we are doing fine.

Tomorrow we drive to Yosemite. We’re staying outside the park, so I may be able to post tomorrow and share some pictures. I don’t know when travel to other states or countries will be possible, but in the meantime we could do worse than exploring California’s great outdoors.

Today’s Notable Headlines

Sorry— I don’t have access to my news sources out here.

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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