Muir Woods


[photopress:IMG_3486.jpg,thumb,alignleft]If you were to travel to San Francisco, drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge and keep going for another six or seven hours you would get to a marvelous part of California with trees as high as sky-scrapers, far too wide for a large man to hug and as old as some of our more sacred books ((I know what you’re thinking. Yes, “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” was only published in the late seventies. I’m talking about certain religious books here.)).

I didn’t go there. I was only in California for a week and didn’t want to spend nearly two days traveling just to see some trees, no matter how spectacular. Instead, if you come off the freeway and head west shortly after the Golden Gate you get to Muir Woods.

[photopress:IMG_3483.jpg,thumb,alignleft]I was expecting a grass clearing to park the car and a muddy path leading under the dark, humid canopy of the Redwoods. Clearly I’ve not spent enough time in the US yet. There were at least two large car parks — sorry, parking lots — and tarmac paths leading up to the ticket booth. Once past the gate-keepers you can see where the money has gone, and it’s difficult to argue that it’s a bad thing. The path becomes a wooden platform leading you between all the magnificent trees. There’s actually nothing preventing you heading off into the woods, stomping on the various delicate flora, but the walk-way leaves you in no doubt where you should be.

I wander deeper into the forest, admiring all the Redwoods. At ground level there is also a wide range of plants. I know nothing about these things (as is readily becoming apparent in this commentary) so it’s good to see that there are plaques identifying the various things to keep an eye out for. After a while I cross a stream and head back to the car park along a dirt path — this is the kind of route I was expecting for the whole area!

It’s great that areas like this can be found so close to big urban areas. It made a great contrast to all the man-made things I saw for the rest of the week.