When Cleveland resident David Wright took his family to visit California for spring break, he knew he wanted them to experience “adventure.”
That trip led the Wrights over snow-covered roads winding through the Sequoia National Forest that were closed not long after they got on them due to a large amount of snow.
“It was quite an adventure,” Wright said.
Wright traveled to the Sequoia National Forest with his wife Stephanie, 7-year-old daughter Lucy and 4-year-old son Noah after having learned that it was home to the world’s largest tree.
“My father lives in California, and we had done some research on the redwood trees in the state,” Wright said. “When we found out that the largest tree in the world was nearby, our mission was clear. We geared up and flew across the country.”
The trip took longer than the family originally anticipated because the area recently experienced a large amount of snow,
“It was a four-hour drive into the Sequoia National Park from San Francisco,” Wright said. “The journey ended up taking us close to seven hours due to road conditions.”
There were a series of winter storms before they arrived, and eight feet of snow fell in addition to what had already accumulated in the three days prior, said Wright.
“The road to the park was closed behind us in fear of people getting stuck in the park,” Wright said. “We were the last ones to enter that night.”
Along the way, the family drove their vehicle through a “labyrinth” of 15-foot snow drifts, Wright said. The family made their way to where they would spend the night and woke up the next morning to 21 more inches of snow on the ground.
“The next morning, we drove down closed roads towards the trail head to see ‘General Sherman,’ the name given to the tree in 1879 by naturalist James Wolverton,” Wright said. “There are no pictures or words that can describe the feeling you get from standing next to a tree of this magnitude.”
“General Sherman” is close to 3,000 years old and is one of the largest living organisms in the world, Wright said.
The family enjoyed their time hiking through the snow and discovering the redwoods but ended up having to cut their trip short because of the weather. On the way down the mountain, they encountered rock slides, mud slides and cars waiting for the road to be cleared.
Now back in Cleveland, the adventurer appreciates the unusual nature of his family’s spring break trip.
“It was ... not your usual spring break in Panama City,” Wright said.