Grove of the Old Trees


Photos (c) Russell Johnson

Occidental, California, a railroad stop in earlier times, is known for its family-style Italian restaurants. Negri’s has been a popular spot since 1943 and The Union Hotel claims to have been dishing lasagna since 1879. In nearby Bohemian Grove, the fat cats of industry and politics (mostly Republican men) frolic – sometimes naked – in the summer. In the 1940s, the Manhattan Project, which gave birth to the atomic bomb, was planned there.

But high above the clanking of forks and the clicking of tongues, is a verdant, meditative stand of old-growth redwoods called Grove of the Old Trees.

We hiked a short trail, picnicked, listened to a man playing a flute, watched a young couple in half-lotus meditate and enjoyed a bit of quiet time ourselves…with the tree Buddha, which is just off the trail. Aside from an occasion distant airplane, the silence here is almost deafening

Tree Buddha.
Owned and managed by Landpaths, a non-profit, Grove of the Old Trees is free to all. The trails are easy and some are suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.


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