[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.

  • Late breakfast, early lunch. Time got away from us this morning so we had a bit of a brunch. We have been on an oatmeal kick this year for several reasons. It's inexpensive, filling, tastes great, and is typically readily available at grocery stores and hotels that serve breakfast. ⁣
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One cup of oatmeal cooked in water is about 160 calories (and a "green" food on our @noom weight loss app). We like to add a teaspoon of brown sugar, a little cinnamon, and lots of fresh berries. Other options are: bananas, nuts, nutmeg, diced apple, flax seed, or dried fruits. ⁣
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What is your go-to breakfast these days?
  • See how we lost a combined 150 pounds in a year while traveling! It was one year ago this week that we began our healthy living journey. We are travel bloggers with a new post (just click on the handy dandy link in our bio) about what we've lost and gained in one year.
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See what we've learned about calorie density, exercise and ourselves in the process. We are so thankful for the resources that have helped us, including @noom and the @mayoclinic Healthy Living Program. (This is NOT a paid partnership) We feel like new people and hope our story will encourage someone else who wants to make a healthy lifestyle change. To stay up to date with our weight loss and healthy living journey, be sure to follow @PostcardJar on social media.
  • Our daffodils are in full bloom here in Nebraska and they just make us smile. We brought the  bulbs for these flowers from Ann's first house when we got married and moved here. Ann had dug them up from her grandma Rashleigh's home in Fremont, Nebraska, and her grandma had brought them to the U.S. from a trip that she took to England. ⁣
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Ann's grandma passed away several years ago. Each spring, these flowers bloom and remind Ann of her grandma and her beautiful soul.
  • We love to travel but we're staying home to flatten the curve. As travel bloggers, writers, and influencers, we all have canceled trips, postponed adventures, and rescheduled experiences. ⁣
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We know this is temporary and soon enough, we'll be traveling again. But for now, we are all staying safe at home and encourage you to do the same. And while you’re home, check out some of these influencers’ feeds for travel inspiration.
  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome

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