[well]This is a guest post, written by Ann’s younger brother, Robert Shrewsbury. Robb and his family live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[/well]

By Robert Shrewsbury

On a recent business trip to Fresno, California, I had a meeting canceled and found myself with some extra time. I discovered that Sequoia National Park was about an hour away so I took the rest of the day off and headed out to explore. I didn’t know it yet but my final destination was the General Sherman Sequoia tree. I read that it was the largest living tree on the planet and figured it was worth a look. And it was.

The park is beautiful, filled with vistas of snow covered mountains, enormous boulders and rushing rivers. Take it slowly.  The road back to the Giant Forest, home of many awe-inspiring sequoias, is slow and filled with switchbacks and steep drop offs. Don’t fret, you can’t help but go slowly, rarely going faster than 25 mile per hour in your car. There are plenty of pull-off areas if someone is in a hurry and following a little too close.

About 40 minutes from the gates you come into the Giant Forest and shortly after the parking area for the Sherman Tree. Take it even slower. The half-mile hike down to the tree on a paved wide path does not seem nearly as steep as the trek back up.  There are plenty of benches to rest on the way, so use them.  No sense killing yourself when there are so many nice views to take in.

When I got my first glimpse of the giant from a bench about half way down, it didn’t seem that impressive. It looked big, but I’d seen big trees before, mainly in the Costa Rican jungle. Once down to the bottom, you encounter a variety of other massive trees, larger than you have ever seen most likely. As you head towards Sherman Tree, you get the sense of its enormity.  Standing 275 feet tall (statue of liberty is 300 feet) and as wide as a school bus is long, you can’t help but be awestruck.

Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park

Ann’s brother, Robb, at the Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park in California.

This tree is 2,200 years old.  It began it’s life  from a seed sprouted in the time when Socrates and Plato were walking the earth. It has survived to reach it’s current magnificence through drought, cold, flood, and fire. A truly amazing set of circumstances helped this tree become the largest on planet earth.

As I walked back (slowly) I was struck by the fact that someone had to have found this tree. This tree in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Someone explored by foot, mule or horse this range. What were they looking for?  It is truly amazing the amount of exploration humans have undertaken. What’s next?  What magnificent thing have we yet to find?

As you drive back, if you can switch places with the passenger, as the road takes the driver’s full attention. I can’t imagine what I didn’t see driving on this perfect April day trip.

Unfortunately, I forgot to stop into any of the visitor centers to get a postcard for my sister.


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Daytrip to Sequoia National Park.

Day trip to Sequoia National Park.

  • We had a few windy days in the #FloridaKeys this week that stirred up the waters. It created the most gorgeous colors in the Atlantic Ocean including this area at Sombrero Beach.
  • We miss waking up on the Celebrity Edge. That's all.
  • We've been having the best time in the Florida Keys visiting Steve's mom and dad this week. Today, it was cold for Floridians, but we loved the sunshine (and were thankful for awesome neighbors who were likely shoveling the snow from our driveway back home).⁣
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We are so thankful for a flexible schedule and opportunities like this one to share time with family. Life seems to pass us by so quickly the older we get and we're fortunate to be able to travel and share experiences with the people we love most. ⁣
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Feeling especially blessed tonight, in the beautiful Florida Keys.
  • We enjoyed a delicious dinner tonight at Hideaway Cafe on Grassy Key with Steve's mom and dad. We went early at 5 p.m. for the sunset dinner menu which has smaller portions and the most beautiful views of the sunset. ⁣
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The food was fresh and made-to-order and served by gracious and professional staff who made us feel right at home. ⁣
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Hideaway is a great restaurant choice for dinner if you're in the Florida Keys. Get a reservation ahead of time, as it fills up quickly, even at 5 p.m.
  • Need some inspiration for staying healthy while traveling? Good news! We are taking over the @noom Instagram stories this afternoon and hope you’ll all follow along as we share tips on how to make healthy living choices while on a cruise ship. We’ll take you inside the beautiful @celebritycruises Edge and show you how we stayed on track with our Noom goals while still enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation. Be sure to follow @noom! Our takeover has just begun. 😁
  • The Rooftop Garden is a unique space on the top deck of the @celebrityedge. There’s no water slide on this ship, no go-carts, and the’s no rock wall for climbing. Instead the Rooftop Garden provides a “living urban playscape inspired by childhood playgrounds and designed to waken the inner child in all of us,” according to the Celebrity Cruises website. There are live plants, comfortable outdoor seating, and unique art installations that set the space apart from anything else at sea. @cruisecelebrity
  • Blu is a restaurant on the Celebrity Edge that is dedicated to guests in Aqua Class.  It serves “clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine” in a gorgeous blue venue. To give you an example of the types of entrees served, for dinner tonight Blu is offering seared duck breast with wilted chard, farro risotto, and black cherry jus; a cracked pepper corn-crusted tuna salad, watercress, and dijon vinaigrette; and pumpkin gnocchi with sautéed arugula, sundries tomatoes, marinated artichokes, goat cheese and basil pesto. What would you order?
  • Yes, cruise ships are huge, but if you do a little exploring, you’ll find that the designers have included many small spots perfect for intimate conversation and watching the world go by. We found this nook in Eden, on deck 5 of the Celebrity Edge, near the stern.

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