This Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree | Unbelievable Stay In A 180-foot Tall Tree!

This Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree | Unbelievable Stay On A 180-foot Tall Tree!

Imagine living atop a 180-foot-tall (55 m) redwood tree, fighting against the odds to save it from being cut down. This is the story of Julia Butterfly Hill, an American environmental activist and advocate for tax redirection. Julia faced the loneliness of living high above the ground but also harsh weather conditions for 738 days. The redwood tree she preserved is 1000 years old and located in California. Despite the efforts to remove her, Julia’s dedication paid off, leading to the protection of the tree she named “Luna.” Julia faced a tragic accident that almost took her ability to walk and talk. Let’s dive into the details surrounding her story. 

Decision To Get On Top Of The Redwood Giant!

The decision follows the devastation caused by the Pacific Lumber Company. Julia once went on a road trip to California to attend a fundraiser that focused on saving the forests. 

In Humboldt County, she noted a group of people who had been circling around giant redwoods. They were trying to send off Pacific Lumber Co. loggers who were about to cut a Giant redwood tree. 

The redwoods were helping to avoid landslides. On New Year’s Eve 1996, a severe landslide took place burying the community underneath a 17-foot-tall mud and debris. This was caused by the tree-cutting of Pacific Lumber Company. So, people were furious to see them continue. However, the organizers of the protest wanted somebody to remain in the 180-foot-tall redwood tree for at least a week. Since no one else volunteered, she had to put herself up for the task. 

Julia finally climbed to the top of the Luna, the giant redwood tree. Preparing for this endeavor was no small accomplishment, involving physical strength and logistical planning. 

“An hour and a half after reaching the base of the tree, we got the last of the provisions up. By then it was midnight. Finally, I was able to put on the harness and ascend Luna. It seemed an exhausting eternity before I reached the top. When I finally got there, I untangled myself from the harness and looked around for a place to collapse.”

Julia Hill
Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree
Image source: The Sun / Trees Foundation

Life On Top: Washing Her Feet With Tree Sap!

Julia remained on top of the tree from December 10, 1997, to December 18, 1999. Living in Luna required Julia to adapt to a new way of life, managing basic needs like food, shelter, and hygiene from the treetop. She faced isolation, battled severe weather, and even endured threats. 

Hill lived on two platforms with each 6-by-4-foot (1.8 by 1.2 m), for nearly 2 years. She even got to learn many survival skills during her time in Luna, such as “seldom washing the soles of her feet, because the sap helped her feet stick to the branches better.”

Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree
Image source: History defined

She also became an “in-tree” reporter for cable TV shows and even got the support of TV crews for her protest. She settled for using solar-powered cells to engage in Radio interviews. Hill kept ropes to bring up supplies that she needed to survive.

She wrapped herself in a sleeping bag to keep the warmth and battle the cold. She only had a small hole open for breathing. A single-burner propane stove was used to prepare the meals. She battled with freezing rains and 40 mph (64 km/h) winds. But that’s not all that troubled her. She was also being threatened to get down by helicopters. The company security guards conducted a ten-day siege to stop the supporters. 

Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree
Image source; Atmos Earth / Medium / KHSU

The Legacy of Luna Preserved At Last!

The resolution of Julia’s protest was a landmark achievement. The Pacific Lumber Company agreed to protect Luna and its surroundings. This marked a victory not just for Julia but for environmental activists everywhere. Despite facing vandalism, Luna stands tall, a testament to resilience. Julia’s post-tree sit life as a motivational speaker, author, and activist showcases her continued commitment to environmental causes.

Julia’s Early Life : A “Butterfly” Gave Her A Name

Julia’s journey began long before she climbed the redwood tree “Luna.” Born on February 18, 1974, Julia Butterfly Hill made her contributions as an environmental activist. With the influence of her nomadic family, she developed a deep connection with nature from an early age. 

Julia’s father traveled all over the country as a minister and took his family with him. Hill spent about 10 years as a camper with her family. Exploring many campgrounds across towns she grew to love nature. When Hill was about 7 years old, a butterfly landed on her finger while they were on a hike. The butterfly then remained with her until the very end of the hike. From that day onwards, she earned the nickname “Butterfly.”

Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree
Image source:

An Almost Fatal Accident! 

A near-fatal car accident at 22 changed her life’s course. In August 1996, Julia suffered injuries and damage from a severe car crash. At the time, Hill was driving her friend’s car as she had been drinking. A drunk driver’s car struck their car from behind and the steering wheel pierced her skull. She was only able to recover from a year-long intensive therapy. 

“As I recovered, I realized that my whole life had been out of balance… I had graduated high school at 16 and had been working nonstop since then, first as a waitress, and then as a restaurant manager. I had been obsessed with my career, success, and material things. The crash woke me up to the importance of the moment, and doing whatever I could to make a positive impact on the future. The steering wheel in my head, both figuratively and literally, steered me in a new direction in my life.”

Where Is Julia Hill Now?

Today, Julia Butterfly Hill remains a beacon of hope and inspiration. Her story continues to encourage a new generation to stand up for the environment and make a difference. 

Hill has become a motivational speaker, an author (with her book “The Legacy of Luna”), and the co-founder of the Circle of Life Foundation and the Engage Network. 

Girl Lived 738 Days On A Tree
Image source: Julia Butterfly Hill / Women of Green


Julia Butterfly Hill’s story is a powerful reminder of how one person’s courage can spark a larger movement. Her legacy lives on in Luna, in the forests saved from destruction, and in the hearts of those inspired by her story. Let’s all take a leaf from Julia’s book and consider how we can contribute to preserving the natural wonders of our world.

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