The Grizzly Giant
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
What does a ginormous Sequoia tree named the Grizzly Giant have to do with NYC? There is a connection, I promise! Read on to find out…
A year and a half after coming to California, and realizing that I’d soon be leaving, I felt a rush to explore the many places known for their incredible beauty, just a few hours drive away.
One of those places is Yosemite National Park, famous for massive, glacier-formed cliffs, rushing waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
― John Muir
But…I’m leaving for NYC in just two short months, and I should be focussed on preparing for the move and finishing up writing my memoir, right? Well, not if your Courtney Ramm.
As June rolls around, I have a new (random) obsession: searching the Yosemite online reservation site daily, looking to see if any last-minute cancellations have come up to stay in the Yosemite Valley Lodge inside of the National Park itself, which is recommended to book up to a year in advance.
I check at least a couple of times a day, not quite sure why this new obsession has taken hold when I have so much on my plate already, and another trip is the last thing I really should be thinking about. But instead of question it too much, I go with it. I’m being “called” to Yosemite! I tell myself. I’ll take my babies, and we’ll go on a spiritual pilgrimage!, I visualize, forgetting about the fact that taking care of an infant and toddler as a full-time single parent is really, really hard work and doesn't leave much space for anything besides, well, a baby and toddler.
Yet, two weeks later I make it happen. We’re staying for two nights in the Yosemite Valley Lodge in the heart of the Valley, and I couldn't be happier (and more sleep-deprived). My director where I teach Music Together classes even re-arranged the summer schedule, so I wouldn't have to miss work for this much-desired trip. Skyden has just turned two and is talking nonstop, and Ocean’s 11-months-old and so cute you could almost eat him up in one nibble. Freakin’ adorable as they are, let’s be real here. Is it really possible to go on a vacation/spiritual pilgrimage/lengthy road trip without an extra support person to help with two endlessly needy and fully dependent beings? I’m sure it is. I know it is. I absolutely bet that someone is reading this thinking, I took my two twin infants on vacation and nobody helped me at all! To that person, I humbly bow down to you!
And to myself, I say, let’s find a way to make this work, so that during my trip to Yosemite, I actually get to see Yosemite, one of the most incredible national parks in the country. I fight my hesitation and stubbornness to do it all myself (which I am often guilty of) and decide to ask a friend if she’d like to come along.
All four of us now joyfully get the full experience, immersed in an other-worldly land of massive waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, giant glacier-formed cliffs and wildflower-filled meadows. We wake up early (read: at the crack of dawn) to walk to the Falls (which are empty because it’s 6:30am), then play in the meadow outside the Majestic Hotel, wade in Mirror Lake, and as night falls, I watch the Full Moon rise while everyone else is asleep back at the Lodge.
There’s just one more thing I really, really want to see before we leave Yosemite after two and a half packed days. Mariposa Grove, with towering Sequoia trees beckons, and we answer the call.
Did you know that there’s a tree as tall as the Statue of Liberty?!
Meet the Grizzly Giant, approximately 2000 years old!
I really wanted a picture right in front of the Giant, but there was a wooden rail to stop people from going up to it. Yet I just couldn't resist. Unfortunately I ran to the tree and back so fast (in fear of getting in trouble for climbing over the rail–I’m not the best rule breaker it turns out) that the only photo my friend got was one of me running back from the tree! Haha!!!
I can’t wait to see the Statue of Liberty in NYC, and compare it in size and stature to the Grizzly Giant. I look forward to being reminded of the beauty of the giant Sequoia every time I see the Statue of Liberty, knowing that it’s Nature-esque counterpart is standing tall on the West Coat, with roots down into the Earth just as Lady Liberty’s foundation is firm beneath her feet. As I uproot my own life with a cross-country move in a few weeks, I stand tall and strong, an anchor for my two young children as we embark on a new adventure together.