There's something about being near a massive coast redwood, its spire impossibly tall, or a broad sequoia, with its lava flow of soft, knobby bark, that evokes a visceral response. It's less like viewing a tree and more like stumbling on a geologic wonder, an arboreal version of the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. People use their library voices while walking among redwoods. Maybe it's being in the presence of something that can outlive 50 human generations--a single tree, standing now in the Sierra Nevada, born during the Bronze Age, and whose grandfather shed its cocoa-colored cones before recorded history.
This is why trees matter. We have a solemn duty to protect and bequeath to successive generations the best of the natural world. As Rachel Carson said, "Conservation is a cause that has no end. There is not point at which we say, 'Our work is finished.'"
Oh, and the link to Ultrarunning is obvious. When you're running among trees, somehow you feel protected and sheltered. Trees never seem sinister or foreboding; they are always benign and welcoming. That's why running on forested courses is so comfortable, like slipping on an old shoe, or running with a dear friend.