Moment of awesome
This picture was taken on the Berry Creek Loop in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 70 miles south of San Francisco on a bunch of trees several centuries old. Accompanied by my new local and highly knowledgeable friend Erin we did a day hike through the state park. The 10 miles hike was moderately challenging featuring waterfalls and a spectacularly large Redwood forest. The trail started with a slice of a Redwood trunk that offered the coolest A–B–C history class I ever had (click on ‘A’ and scroll through the pictures). IT WAS AWESOME!
Sequoioideae (better known as “Redwoods”) is one of the most impressive types of trees in the world. ItRead more
has been around since the Jurassic era, roughly 200 millions years ago, can live for thousands of years, and are native to California, the southern part of Oregon and China (though this is the metasequoia, which grows a ‘mere’ 200 feet or 60 meter). Redwoods are famous for their humongous size. The tallest Redwood, Hyperion Tree, is 379 feet tall (see image), the biggest tree by volume is the General Sherman Tree (big enough for more than 13 loads on a Boeing 747), and you can even pass under Chandelier tree by car!
One other attribute makes Redwood unique: its ability to thrive on fire. Fires allow regeneration, eliminates competing species, all the while not harming the tree as the bark is fire resistant. Due to wildfire prevention efforts, fewer days of fog in coastal areas, and air pollution future Redwoods are predicted to grow fewer in number and smaller in height.
Favorite landscape picture
As we were nearing the end of our day hike in Big Basin, I took this picture of the Redwood forest at dusk. The afternoon sun gives the forest a romantic glow and on a clear day you can see the Pacific through the trees.
I can’t get enough of this forest!
Corn (technically Maize) is indigenous to Mexico and North America. Sweet corn is the type of corn found in grocery stores and popcorn (actually a specific type of corn) is mostly found in movie theaters. However, 99% of all corn grown in the US is dent corn (named after the dent at the end of each kernel) and is mostly used for animal feed, syrup, and other industrial uses. The picture on the left shows Flint corn, named after its hard outer shell. This type is sold around Thanksgiving for ornamental purposes and to commemorate thanksgiving (the history of which is less colorful than the above kernels).
Guilty pleasure meal
It doesn’t get more traditional American than pancakes at a diner. There is really nothing better than pounding away the 600 calories of doughy delight with unlimited coffee. If you’re looking for some variety in your pancake game, check out the recipes for a Dutch Baby Pancake, Austrian Kaiserschmarrn (I don’t expect you to be able to pronounce it), or Slovakian Palacinky.
“Something that’s part of your history doesn’t need to be part of your present.”
– Erin Christ (1992 – present). New friend; California native; History and Anthropology Major at University of Oregon. This quote spontaneously came out as we were discussing our countries’ histories. We realized the quote does not only apply for nations, but also for us as individuals.
Favorite gadget / book / app / life hack
Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind is a must read if you want to understand the world’s history from a broader perspective. The book explains beautifully how humans are the only animal to have walked on the moon, created capitalism, and basically rule the world.
Even if history is not your cup of tea, the book is so well-written that I think it’s worth the read. I finished all 400 pages in one go and didn’t want it to stop. The book ends with Harari’s prediction of the future. I didn’t need to eat anything that week as the book gave enough food for thought for days!
Click here to order the book (yes, I get a sales commission 😉 )