Sunday, September 22, 2013

Muir Woods National Monument

As I had written previously, our home is now parked across the San Francisco Bay north of the city itself.  This has proven to be a good place to park as it has given us a different experience from the other times when we have visited this area.  Here we are surrounded by the Marion Headlands, or coastal hills.  Grassy hills slope down to valleys which sit next to the shoreline, we find it to be a very beautiful area even though we are still dealing with the hectic pace of city life.
One of the larger hills, which we can see from our home, is Mount Tamalpais.  Friday we drove over to the state park of the same name, where Muir Woods is located.  The coastal redwoods in this park are the tallest trees in the world, their height may be up to 368 feet and diameter of 20 feet.  Looking up into the canopy of this forest I could not help but be filled with awe at their majestic height.
The coastal redwoods are closely related to the giant sequoia and dawn redwood.  There use to be 40 of the species which once lived in a warmer, wetter climate- now there are 15 of the "ancient relics" remaining, most of them living around the Pacific Rim.  The trees in this park draw people from around the world.  We were there on a weekday, it was a bit cool and wet.  However, nothing seemed to deter the crowds of people who were there, a parking space was difficult to find and about 6 large tour buses came and left during the time we were there.  
Pictured above is a section of the woods called Cathedral Grove.  Here there are many signs encouraging the visitor to walk quietly through the cluster of trees.  There is also an brass plaque along the trail  commemorating a time in 1945 when world leaders came here after meeting in San Francisco to establish the United Nations.  They visited the woods to honor President Franklin Roosevelt who had died a month earlier.  Organizers of the event hoped "that the profound beauty and serenity of Muir Woods would inspire the delegates to pursue the President's program for world peace as they met to establish the United Nations".  Quotation was taken from the memorial plaque in the woods, which marks the spot where the world leaders stood on May 19, 1945.

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