A road trip to Muir Woods National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)
I've learned that Muir Woods National Monument was established in 1908 through the inspired leadership of William and Elizabeth Kent, Gifford Pichot and President Theodore Roosevelt. I visited the park at the begining of December and here is an account of what December in Muir Woods feels like.
One thing to note I am not a fan of planned tours or meeting times on my holidays. It is restrictive and something I stay away from doing unless of course traveling alone limits the experience, and then it makes the most sense to do so with a group of other like-minded people.
So as is customary I did some research prior to leaving for my trip and booked a couple day trips out of the City by the bay so I can see the area and experience a few things I have always dreamed of. One is a cabin stay in the mountains, Sonoma Wine Country and Nappa Valley. Today I was hopping on Incredible Adventures minibus for a road trip out of town to Muir Woods, the trip also included the Muir Woods Look Out and Sonoma and Nappa.
I am moderately social and as a result group trips do drain the life out of me. I typically recharge alone and require a recharge after time with people I am unfamiliar with. Incredible adventures promised to take you "from the mild to the wild". I liked that. I liked that alot. Here we go...
I'd been in San Francisco 6 days so far and on my 7th day I woke up got out of bed and packed a day bag for my day of wild and incredible adventures.
Just a short way from the loft I met up with their mini-bus and were went for a morning stop of coffee and made a short route around the city to pick up the other guests that joined us on the tour. I shared the bus with 4 other ladies and our tour guide. In addition to Muir Woods we were taken to of Sonoma Wine Country, spent then night roamed around and returned and I was entirely excited.
Our first stop after having our morning coffee is the Golden Gate Bridge, From where we spot Alcatraz Island and Fort Point National Historic Site. San Francisco was busy as per usual I guess for the most part it was a normal working day. From construction work to commuters the city was alive already so early in the morning.
Muir Woods is an ancient Redwood Forest and Redwood Creek. Muir Woods is incredibly beautiful. The Redwood Creek is one of the few free-flowing streams on the Pacific Coast that still provides suitable habitat for endangered coho salmon and steel-head trout. The cold, clear, well-oxygenated water of Redwood Creek supports one of the last wild populations of salmon to survive in their natural habitat on the central California Coast.
Sunlight and shade is at balance in the forest, full sunlight rarely reaches the floor of a Redwood Forest. Shade-loving plants such as moss, ferns, and lichen thrive in this cool, dim and moist environment, where they may get as little as 5% of full sunlight. The trees are well adapted to life here with deciduous foliage, large leaves or branches, and leaves that bend toward the light.
There are fallen trees and it is amazing how new growth emerges from the horizontal fallen tree logs. Ever wonder if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound. Yes. It is told that you are able to hear the trees fall from about a mile away. to hear the sound of this amazing tree crashing to the forest floor you can listen to theTrees Fall on Winter Solstice in here.
The fallen logs are nutrient-rich host as it decomposes over the next few centuries for new redwood shoots, ferns and lichens. Tons of young species. Large burls have formed on the trunks of the trees in the woods, and fresh green sprouts are growing up from the burls pm the trees' massive root systems. These features reflect the ability of the redwoods, unlike most other trees, to reproduce not only from seed but also directly from their own burl growth. Even redwood logs lying on the forest floor are apt to sprout long after the parent tree has fallen. Burls are made up of thousands of bud cells that accumulate below ground, at the base of the trunk. or sometimes higher in the tree. Most bud cells remain dormant as long as the parent tree is healthy and undamaged. But each bud call is fully capable of producing a new redwood - a clone that is genetically identical to its parent. Wonders of the earth, right?
There's Cathedral Grove, you enter quietly. Here it's a refuge of Peace and Quiet. Cathedral Grove was set aside as a quiet refuge to protect its natural soundscape in an increasingly noisy world. The soundscape is vital to animals for hunting and foraging, courtship and mating, nurturing young, and avoiding predators.
By walking quietly, we experience the natural sounds of a living, ancient forest.
We walked quietly, leaving only footsteps.
I love this quotation among the many other beautifully recorded ones by John Muir:
In full disclosure I was a guest of Incadventurs, all words are written with love by Chan, some taken from the photos I took of the Visitor Information that I found at the Park, all images made during my two weeks in San Francisco where I taught myself manual, perfectly imperfect. I chose not to hide the imperfect ones I think they all form part of the collection and are all part of the process.
Have you ever heard about Muir Woods?