The trees began to get larger and larger the further I entered the forest, the closer I got to the creek. It was a little time consuming to keep stopping and break out the measuring tape and book, but it was fun anyhow.
Eventually, the sun began to sink lower in the sky and I had to start thinking about a place to camp. There was no way I was going to drive to one of the campgrounds and spend $35, so I just needed to pick a spot.
"There are even bigger ones down that way," the man told me.
"Some trees in this grove are 370 feet tall. In fact, the Stratosphere Giant is located here, although we try to keep it a secret."
My heart was beginning to pump out of my chest.
"No way!!!" I said. I knew exactly who I was talking to. What were the chances that I would meet this guy in a spectacular redwood grove. The man started telling me about this new camera he was using, although I didn't really understand what he was talking about. He was just as eccentric as I imagined while reading the book the "Wild Trees."
"Your name isn't Michael Taylor is it?" I asked.
"Yes it is, how did you know?" he responded.
I'll be damned!! How cool is this?!! Although thankfully I didn't yell this. I had a million questions to ask him, although after explaining how I knew him, I could tell he probably wasn't the type that is comfortable with celebrity. I went on to tell him that I was planning on camping somewhere for the night.
"If I were you, I would camp right here," Michael Taylor said.
"Will I get in trouble?" I asked.
"Nah, just pick a spot."
With that kind of permission from the "man of the redwoods," I was stoked, to put it simply.
Before departing, Michael shared with me his website which you can find here.
I felt like I had just met my hero.
Steve Sillet and his team recently have been studying the canopy of this giant. I haven't heard of anyone else heading into the redwood canopies to do research. Unfortunately, it seems like I may be turning into one of those "tall tree fanatics" that Sillet is unhappy about in the article. I can sympathize with his opinion.