Sunday, June 15, 2008

Muir Woods 6.15.08

Sunday, we took our time getting ready at the campsite & watched everyone pack up & leave (it was a full campground over the weekend). We finally got out of here & headed out to Muir Woods and Mt. Tam. The traffic wasn’t bad but when we arrived there were signs stating the parking area was full and to take the tram in. We stopped for lunch & then found the tram into Muir Woods. Muir Woods is the largest stand of Redwoods this far South. It was phenomenal to say the least. We lucked into a tour from the park ranger which explained how the park was formed (Thank you Teddy Roosevelt!) and how the United Nations still meet here on a regular basis. The trees were spectacular & it was a brisk, sunny day. There were nice, short hikes (about 1 mile) and of course much longer ones. We were amazed to learn that there had not been a significant fire there since 1856...which is shocking as so many of the trees were still black & looked like they had just been burned! We learned that the bark on the redwoods can reach 1 foot thick - and that it grows up for the first 60 years (or so) and then starts putting on it's bulk. The Rangers at the park were very fascinating & admitted that the U.S. Forest Service was constantly learning. They explained that for years, any time a tree fell into the creek, they immediately cleared it thinking it would block the flow of water and cause problems. Well, by doing that, they were preventing the pooling water and thus preventing the fish from being able to spawn. So now they just let nature take it's course...unless it makes a problem for the park. One thing they said when asked whether the climate changes were affecting the trees in a negative way was that it was actually the visitors to the park that were 'stressing out' the trees - climbing, touching, etc that was causing the most damage. And that controlled burns actually help the area by opening up the canopy, allowing new trees to blossom and sunlight to get through. I was thoroughly fascinated...I can't wait to see the larger trees further North!!

We were at Muir Woods for about 3 hours and it was getting too late to stop at Mt. Tam so we headed back ‘out’ of the city around 5pm…big mistake! Seems everyone from the North Beach festival & everyone else was heading the same way. We finally made it back to camp at 9:30! Yikes! There was a little stress as we knew the gates to the park close at 10:00…no big deal, you can just leave your vehicle and then walk…the 2 ½ miles to our campsite. Haha. Luckily, we made it, no problem.
More to follow...


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