We’re on family vacation in Yosemite. A few days ago, we hiked through a stunning grove of Giant Sequoia in the southern park. Many of these towering trees date back more than 2,000 years. Just being in this grove felt sacred and eternal.
Then we learned about the man who saved the trees. His name was Galen Clark. He moved here in 1853 for fresh mountain air. He was dying of tuberculosis. His doctors gave him only six months to live. On a hike one day, he became the first European-American to find this grove of Giant Sequoia in what is now called Mariposa Grove.
Galen was so moved by the Giant Sequoia that he devoted the remainder of his life to saving them from logging companies. It was because of his efforts that Abraham Lincoln signed legislation not only protecting the grove, but also to protect much of Yosemite Valley, paving the way for the creation of this amazing Yosemite National Park.
Galen, by the way, didn’t die of tuberculosis. He lived for over fifty more years, passing away in his late 90s of old age. He inspired everyone fortunate enough to meet him, leading luminaries such as John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Teddy Roosevelt and other well-known scientists, writers, painters, and tourists on outings around the park.
We believe that Galen survived because he deeply believed in something, he breathed fresh mountain air, immersed himself in nature every day, and was consumed by love for this glorious landscape. Hiking through the forest that Galen Clark saved, we felt like we met this marvelous man, his spirit alive in every majestic tree.
Thank you Galen!