Travel is often about fulfilling notions preconcieved at home. For a long time now i've wanted to see some Sequoia, so when i heard i was off to "Redwood Shores" i envisaged a haven of tranquility deep in woodland. Of course one look at the map and i realised it was just an offshoot of "Redwood City" in the Bay Area and the giant Redwoods were long-gone.
So i headed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods to see some Coastal Redwoods:
These are not as large as Sequoiadendron giganteum found further inland, but are still very tall and long lived. The inside ring of this tree is dated 990AD:
The park itself is quite magnificent. It represents all that's left of Redwoods that covered the whole Bay Area. They survived thanks in part to being inaccessible to loggers, but mainly thanks to the generosity of Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth who bought the 295 acre site here for $45,000 in 1905 and donated them to the US Government. Even more generously, the Kents named the woods after John Muir the environmentalist.
There are lots of trails, so i grabbed a map:
and hacked off up along the "Ocean View":
Yup, after climbing 1000 feet i realised the view had been filled in by treetops! But it was easy going mainly thanks to the amazingly well maintained paths:
but sadly one or two that were closed due to erosion:
back into the valley floor, there was a boardwalk circuit:
Which passes the nice sounding, but site of secret society meetings Bohemian Grove:
The Redwoods survive by being resistant to fires and then out-competing the burnt undergrowth, so the parkies periodically set controlled fires:
which makes for some interesting gnarly bark formations:
The coastal redwoods can reproduce sexually via fir-cones and asexually from 'burls':
which normally sprout at the base of the tree, but sometimes a bit higher:
this results in family rings of trees, in this case the mother tree appears to have succumbed to a forest fire:
After 4 and a bit hours walking, i was totally chilled out, jet-lag expunged and ready for the meeting.. a must-see!