Thursday, October 4, 2012

Muir Woods

 
Our last trip to California had us visiting Muir woods, pretty much straight from the airport. A rental car and a short trip north across the Golden Gate Bridge and we were walking in the redwoods. Actually, it was a busy day and we had to park so far away from the entrance, we walked about a mile just to get to the front gates. We were there on Easter Sunday.

This is truly one of the greatest forests in the world. We'd been there before, about 20 years ago (when these trees were much smaller). But we wanted to go back to take our daughter. There are many trails for hiking, but the main trails among the base of the redwoods is a short walk on mostly meandering boardwalks.

It's one of the last old-growth coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests on the planet. Nearly 2 million acres of these trees covered a narrow strip along California and Oregon's coasts. Now only 3% of that remains and only in protected areas. 

They grow up to (and some over) 350 ft. tall. That's about the size of a 35-story building. That's just a bit shorter than Buffalo's City Hall, for comparison (if you're familiar with Buffalo's 398-ft.-tall Art Deco City Hall).


I fully expected to see an Ewok pop out from behind a tree. It is serenely quiet (other than other tourists) and is quite cathedral-like no matter where you look. As a matter of fact there is one grove called Cathedral Grove. We took a picture to send to our priest, to prove we visited a cathedral on Easter.
This isn't us. It was other random tourists. Hard to get a photo of the sign without people.

A family of trees grows together over time creating massive trunks.
It's difficult to convey how tall they are,
This tree had an estimated birth of 900 A.D.
Nice groomed paths made walking nice, and handicapped accessible.
The finger-nail-sized pine cones contain 30-100 redwood seeds. WARNING! Even though a redwood is an awesome tree, it is NOT a good choice for a suburban lot. Even in average soil it will quickly overwhelm the surrounding area. After growing an extensive root system, a juvenile tree will  add five or six feet to its height each year - reaching a height of up to 150 feet during a person's lifetime. That's fifteen stories high.

Woodland plants like this trillium and ferns are abundant. Larger shrubs and trees cannot compete with redwoods. If they're not sucking up all the nutrients from the soil, making it poor for growing much else, it also drops LOTS of branches to smother out other trees & shrubs. Areas under a redwood are compared to war zones.
The hiking trails in the hills were not all this smooth and flat.
Many trees look like they had fire damage, charred trunks and such.
As with any tourist destination, there's always a gift shop. I was most intrigued by these take-home trees in a container. I read this warning on a website though, "Its roots are very efficient at removing nutrients from your and your neighbor's soil. They are shallow and extend many feet from the tree, damaging foundations, driveways and cracking water and drain pipes. Many years after a tree's removal, the existing roots will continue to send up sprouts in the surrounding landscaping.
Maybe we'll get back there n another 20 years to check up on them. By then, maybe we'll have grand kids o take.

2 comments:

  1. I was there so very long ago, but will never forget the experience and majesty of the trees.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Donna, you should go back. The trees are taller now than they were the last time you were there.

    ReplyDelete

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