Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


A Walk in Muir Woods

I'm tempted to say that Muir Woods is my favorite place we've visited thus far, but that is a hefty title in a place with so many awesome things to do. On the other hand, I've been there twice now and I absolutely love it! It is the most peaceful place that we've been and my favorite place for a leisurely stroll.

Muir Woods isn't just any wooded area, but home to Redwoods. Redwoods are the tallest trees on record and in the same family as the giant Sequoias. Let me preface this post by saying that it is impossible to explain their height. It is impossible to take a picture that captures their stature. So like most other things, it is just something you have to see for yourself.

The first time Adam, Landon and I visited, we made our way over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito in the afternoon. Only 12 miles north of San Francisco, we figured it would be a good afternoon trip. We completely underestimated the amount of time we would want to spend there. You park wherever you can and walk into the park through the visitors center entrance. The path along the floor is paved with a wooden fence to keep people from disturbing the natural landscape. The entire path seems to blend right in as if it is part of the landscape. Maybe that is because all your time is spent looking up at the gigantic skyscrapers of trees.

Did I mention pictures really don't do these giants justice? I tried to take a few paanoramics with my phone, but even then it's hard to comprehend.

I figure this is what an apple tree looks like to an ant. The tops of the trees are so high that you really can't even make them out. And while the height is what makes your mouth gape open, the circumference is equally impressive. 

When we arrived, the park was pretty full. It was hard to find parking and we saw multiple tour buses, but despite the numbers of people it never once felt crowded. Our whole time in the park was peaceful and the only reason we even knew other people were around is because Landon insists on talking to everyone. There are multiple signs asking visitors to be quiet and while that may seem out of place in the middle of the woods, here it just feels right. It's as if quietness is a sign of respect for these beautiful giants. The path, the hush, the creek that runs right down the middle all seem to be a way to keep the giants from waking. The park is so peaceful that we came across deer in multiple places just grazing away a few feet away.

A creek runs right through the middle of the floor and there are a number of bridges that melt into the landscape. If the trees were not enough, the water and bridges along side of them make for the most picturesque scenery.

The forest floor is lush, with giant ferns, moss that appears fluorescent, and clovers the size of tennis balls. 

We spent our afternoon walking the main path and learning a little more about the trees. Here are a few amazing facts about redwoods. They can grow to a height of 379 ft. They can live to 2,000 years. Their diameter can be up to 22 ft and the bark alone is 12 inches thick.  By studying the rings on this redwood it was discovered that it started growing before the 10th century, the same time Vikings ruled the seas and England became a unified state. 

And when you are there, it isn't so hard to imagine what these woods were like when this tree was just beginning life.

Adam, Landon and I stayed in the forest floor and walked around the Main Trail seeing the Bohemian and Cathedral Grove. We knew this was a place we would be coming to again so when when the sun set and the woods became chilly we decided to call it day with a number of hikes and trails on our future to-do list.

Last week, while Adam was in Dallas at training, Landon and I had our first visitor! We knew Muir Woods was a must see for Marty and a place we really wanted to visit again so Friday morning, bright and early, we packed into the car and headed for the Woods. Adam had mentioned the light would be better in the morning so we arrived at 8:30am. Not only did we have the park almost completely to ourselves, but the visitors center didn't open until 9 which meant admission was free! Best of all, Adam was right, the light was PERFECT!

Marty and Landon quickly got to taking pictures of the breathtaking light.

This time, we decided to do a little more hiking so we hiked 3 miles starting with the Canopy View Trail, connecting to the Lost Trail and ending back on the main trail from the Fern Creek Trail. Since the first visit was spent on the forest floor it was really neat to climb up and see some of the redwoods closer to the top.

We climbed up for over a mile and spent almost another mile walking between the trees. While this walk didn't seem to be among the biggest of the redwoods, it was a much more personal tour with the trees.

So personal in fact, we actually got to reach out and touch hug them. 

We spent over three hours walking the trail and admiring the everything that irWs had to offer. This hike seemed to be about the farthest/steepest we could push Landon and multiple people commented along the way that it was a lot for such a young kid to do. The last mile was spent bribing him to continue on with the promise of chips at the cafe. The kid loves his chips! And we all really love Muir Woods!

But even if you can't walk three miles, these woods can be enjoyed by a short 5 minute walk into the park and an hour spent sitting on one of the benches. Adults and children seem to appreciate everything this area has to offer even though it really doesn't offer anything, but itself.

It's a place I've gotten to enjoy twice already and plan on visiting many more. And a place I would most definitely recommend to anyone visiting the bay area. In an area with over 7 million people there is no other place I can think of so close where you can feel so far away. The peacefulness of these woods is the by far, the most beautiful part. One that can never be described in a series of pictures or words, but must be felt for yourself.  

As John Muir said "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul". A walk in Muir Woods is food for the soul.

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