SEQUOIA CELEBRATION: If you were to decorate one of the tallest and largest trees on the planet, how would you go about it? Would you parachute into its top branches, the better to string them with tinsel and popcorn? Would you find a firefighter's ladder and attempt to hang ornaments from the lowest branches, branches that are still quite high up? No, you wouldn't. Rather, you'd savor the decorations that nature bestows upon the mammoth creations each and every year: boughs of snow, birds, cones, and the other sprouty, growing things that bedeck a sequoia's upper reaches. Still, just because our sequoias don't take on the typical look of a Christmas tree doesn't mean that we can't think of them as holiday trees, trees that are very much symbolic of the season's peace. Calvin Coolidge, our country's 30th president, designated the General Grant as "The Nation's Christmas Tree" back in 1926. And each and every year since people have trekked into Kings Canyon National Park to pay homage to the great tree and mark the mellow quietness and snow-tree-y beauty of winter's coming.
THIS YEAR'S HIKE: The Sanger Chamber of Commerce organizes the yearly celebration at the General Grant, which is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 8. A wreath is placed at the base of the tree, songs are sung, and other doings lend the day a festive touch. For more information on a tradition that's lasted for nearly nine decades, check out the Sanger page or make for the General Grant's own HQ on the National Park Service site.