Alright, so I may be a bit of a treehugger. Trees are just a fantastic, magical source of life! Without them, we don’t exist, so why shouldn’t I worship them?
I’ve recently discovered a new favorite tree, and of course it’s native to Chile – most of my favorite trees are. The Alerce Andino, or Lahuan in the native Mapuche tongue, is one of the most magical trees I have had the pleasure of hugging.
On our way through Parque Pumalín, we were told to be sure to take the short walk through the Alerce forest. Ben, genius of all things ecological, insisted that we wouldn’t want to miss this. He was right. We ended up going there three times!
Here are seven reasons why you should check out an Alerce forest for yourself!
- Alerces are one of the oldest longest living species on Earth! Scientists estimate that there are some that may be over 4000 years old.
- Because they are so old, they have seen things no one else has, and know waaaaaay more than you do. We came back to the forest armed with the important questions, like What would Jesus actually do? and Is the moon made of cheese?
- Everything is so GREEN! It’s incredible. There’s moss, and ferns, and leaves of all shapes and sizes, and did I mention MOSS! (Growing up in the forests of Minnesota, moss is one of my absolute favorite neature features.)
- Everything grows on everything! I’ve never seen a place where trees grow on trees and moss grows on trees and flowers grow on moss. Call me crazy, but that’s just cool.
- Alerces are endangered. Due to years of everything from heavy logging to straight up burning down mountains of trees just to create space, these incredible trees are a rarity, and need our protection.
- The immensity of these beauties provides a wonderful reminder that we are but small pieces of this earth. Everyone can use a little humbling every now and again.
- Dancing with trees is good for your soul, and these babies can dance.
Want to get to know these magical trees? There are two main parks that offer great opportunities to not only spend time with some of the oldest living organisms on the planet, but to do all sorts of outdoor adventuring: Parque Pumalin on the Chilean side, and just across the border in Argentina, there is Los Alerces National Park. I have yet to check out the Argentinian side of this area, but it looks to be even more stunning!