Walking in the Redwoods – An Experience of Awe

Looking Up

Looking Up ©2013 Bo Mackison

“Going to the woods is going home.” ~ John Muir

The magnificent redwoods have been on my bucket list for years, circled in bright red ink, one of those must-see wonders. So when my daughter proposed an add-on vacation to her work trip in northern California, and asked if I wanted to join her, the answer was a no hesitation, emphatic “YES!”

My kids are National Park junkies. Sherpa and I guided sojourns through the United States on an annual basis – two or three weeks on the road in August every year from the time our youngest was 5 and able to enjoy long roads trips. We even managed a few trips with college aged kids, though less regular, so our family has memories of many travels through the 48 contiguous states. There are parts of the country we didn’t travel through, not because of interest, but because we ran out of parents-with-children vacation years.

We never traveled the Everglades in Florida, most of the gulf coast of Florida, Upper Michigan; we only did brief forays into Delaware, Connecticut, Oregon and Nevada. And, though we flew to Sacramento for a family wedding many years ago, we couldn’t add vacation time, and so we never explored the National Parks in northern California or southern Oregon.

Through a Redwood

Looking Through ©2013 Bo Mackison

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir

When the opportunity to explore Redwood National Park came, we didn’t hesitate. We went.

We sat on the beaches, watching the waves of the Pacific pound the coast in its infinite process, turning larger black bits of sand into tinier bits. We hiked the Cathedral Trees Trail and the Fern Canyon Trail, sometimes laughing as the trees dripped on our backs, more often silenced in awe by the mere presence of these giants.

We explored an old giant, half living, half in various states of decay. The ancient tree offered us a rare view — we ducked into an opening between two roots and stood in the inner chamber of a redwood. We were in the tree’s inner sanctum, and when we peered  upwards, we had a view of the canopies of the surrounding trees.

Travel like this – time to explore, connect, breathe – it is the stuff of the mystical. A bit of the spiritual, a bit of the poetic, a bit of the artistic and the naturalist. A time to search for our deepest desires, our truest meaning – that which we hold within, an inkling of what we might yet be.


Bo Mackison is photographer, traveler, collector of stories, naturalist, and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  In August, I stood in the redwood groves of the coastal California, in awe, and I remain humbled by their magnificence.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. The way in which you express your experience in the Redwood forest is so awe-inspiring and reverent. Thank you. It is rare moments like these, spent at the heart of nature, which enliven every fiber of our being. What an exhilarating feeling!

  2. I think your first image expresses it all — the greatness of the trees, the awe, and even a sense of the sacred.

  3. Wonderful images and what a great gift to your family

  4. Such an adventure!! Great to hear the story; the redwoods seem magificent. Beautiful natural beings, indeed.

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