On Wednesday, Amy and I decided to venture out into the wild and see some trees. Here in California, seeing trees is an interesting enough prospect to occupy an entire afternoon. This is because California has some damned impressive trees; redwoods here can be 1000+ years old and 300 feet tall.
Our chosen place to see some trees was Muir Woods, a national park in Marin County. You reach Muir Woods by driving on a twisty, terrifying road which goes up and over Mount Tam. There are no guardrails, and there’s a precipitous drop on the side. We drove very, very slowly.
After arriving safely in Muir Woods, we first stopped to have a picnic. We brought a variety of cheeses (Tallegio, Brillat Savarin and Cambozola), some Italian salami, bubbly water, a pear, and a nice large piece of sourdough bread. You can’t picnic in the park, so we set up outside.
After the picnic, we entered the woods.
The park itself consists of an elevated boardwalk through the woods. Again, though, these are not just normal woods. Muir Woods is almost exclusively redwoods. I had never seen a redwood tree before, and again, they are quite impressive. You can stand at the bottom of one, look up, and see nothing but tree.
And redwoods aren’t just individually massive. They also grow so close together and send out so many branches that the literally block out the sun, preventing pretty much anything else from growing around them. Add to this the fact that their bark is up to a foot thick–thick enough to stop bugs from getting in to eat the trees–and when you walk around a bunch of redwoods, you see redwoods and very little else. There was almost no other foliage, no bugs, and no birds.
What there was was a lot of light filtering majestically through the trees at pleasing, slanty angles, which we duly photographed.
Time was, you could drive through giant redwood trees, which had been hollowed out for that purpose. Now, you can only stand inside them, which we did plenty of.
The woods also featured some comical signs, such as this one about “Chipmunkiosis.” It’s good to know that the US Forest Service has a sense of humor.
After our walk through the woods, we stopped at the park’s cafe. Normally, you’d expect this to have some mediocre chicken fingers, burgers, etc. This being California, though, the cafe was a little farm to table restaurant, complete with locally-sourced salads and pastries, reclaimed redwood furniture, and a preachy sign about how they don’t sell bottled water. We had some (corn syrup free) sodas and a delicious brownie, and read our books.
Muir Woods was a lot of fun, but there’s one big reason we won’t be coming back soon. They don’t allow dogs! Jack and Max would love the opportunity to “mark” some redwoods, but I guess we’ll have to look elsewhere!