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  • Writer's pictureEryn

Sierra Nevada - A Young American Mountain Range

Eryn stands under the hollow of a massive redwood tree in the Redwood National Park
Gazing up in awe at a towering redwood tree in Redwood National Park

The Sierra Nevada mountain range is around four million years old, but to Planet Earth, it is still relatively young. Filled with incredible natural landscapes, the famous Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are all within its bounds. As we drove across the state of California, we were fortunate to visit all of these iconic landmarks.

Yosemite was our first American national park and we were quite excited to visit this famed protected site and its rock formations. When we arrived at the heart of the park, we were dwarfed by the grand cliffs and rock faces that soared above our heads. The calm breeze whistled softly while the leaves of the surrounding trees burst with orange and yellow in anticipation of the change of the seasons. This unique sight was a wonderful start to our road trip.

A view of the cliff and rock formations in Yosemite National Park above a forest of green and orange trees under a bright blue sky
The unique cliffs and rock formations of Yosemite National Park

Our next stop was Redwood National Forest which is lush with some of the tallest trees on Earth. Everywhere you turn are the slim, skyscraping trees, providing shelter for the smallest of creatures. In the midst of the forest, we discovered a tree whose trunk had been hollowed out and filled with curiosity, I decided to peer inside. As I stepped in, the air around me suddenly cooled and smelled sweet of wood. The tree drew my gaze upwards, and I looked up to see its history engraved within its bark. Stepping into this tree's hollow, somehow felt like stepping into its very soul.

We further explored trees at the nearby Sequoia National Park, another forest with some record-breaking trees. It's home to General Sherman, a giant sequoia holding the most volume of any tree, and is hence the largest tree and second-largest living thing on Earth. The national park is also home to General Grant, and though it comes in third in terms of size, it holds a more symbolic place in people's hearts being the United States' national shrine and Christmas tree.

Eryn standing at the opening of a fallen sequoia tree hollow at Sequoia National Park
Peering into the hollow of a fallen sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park

Our final destination in the Sierra Nevada mountain range was Lake Tahoe whose well-known views did not at all disappoint. With its clear, blue water, what is the nation's largest alpine lake is truly a lovely spot to visit. We were lucky to be there on a beautiful sunny day when the water shimmered beautifully and reflected the bright sky. Many birds rested afloat on the water with people nearby to enjoy its beauty.

Eryn looking out to a blue sky above mountains, green forests, and the blue waters of Lake Tahoe
Looking out to the clear, blue waters of Lake Tahoe reflecting the blue sky above

The lush mountain range of Sierra Nevada holds beauty in both its landscape as well as its wildlife. Though we did not encounter many animals on this road trip, we did catch glimpses of the elusive bighorn sheep as well as energetic alpine chipmunks. I am thankful these sites are protected as national treasures, so that they may shelter the nature here as well as provide us with the opportunity to visit them sustainably.


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