Muir Woods

By: Bethany
March 19th, 2006

Redwoods at Muir Woods

Dan and I headed north with Muir Woods as our destination for the day. We stopped at a scenic overlook near the Golden Gate Bridge on our way north. The overlook offered magnificent views, several T-shirt vendors, and a large slice of a redwood tree.

As we made our way back to our car, I had Dan pose next to the section of trunk. It was taller than he was and unbelievably ancient. Our anticipation grew – if a dead tree was this incredible, the living things must be even more spectacular.
One of the interesting things about San Francisco is that once you drive out of the city, there’s not much in the way of population or urban sprawl like we’re used to in St. Louis. The winding roads that we took to get to Muir Woods were surprisingly quiet and scenic.

Our book on the bay area had warned that parking might be a challenge at this National Park. This was true, but since we arrived early it wasn’t too bad. We heard conversations in several different languages as we walked to the main park entrance.

So here we were. Muir Woods. The only old-growth forest in the Bay area and one of the last ones on Earth. Once, 2 million – million – acres of redwoods covered a narrow strip of the California and Oregon coast. Today 97% of these old growth forest are gone, or changed forever. Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thatcher Kent had enormous foresight. They paid $45,000 for just 295 acres in 1905. Recognizing the beauty and importance of this area, the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government and. President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument
in 1908.

We tried to take decent pictures of these gigantic 600 – 1100 year old
trees, however, it’s impossible to adequately portray them on film (or
pixels). We tried, though. The tallest redwood at Muir Woods is 258 feet. Further up north, they get even larger – up to nearly 370 feet. According to the National Park Service’s web site, this is 60 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

So, Dan bought a “grow your own redwood” kit at the gift shop. The seeds are tiny. The included “greenhouse” is about 6 inches tall. We have to plant the seeds and then leave them in the refrigerator for a month before exposing them to warmth and sunlight in order to get them to sprout.

(Originally posted in 2000 by Bethany)

One Response to “Muir Woods”

  1. OdysseyRoad » Blog Archive » Life Returns Says:

    […] Here Weisman is pointing toward the maximum ecosystem. Could you imagine what that forest must look like? It probably has some similarities to old growth forests still standing in the Pacific Northwest, places such as Muir Woods or the Hoh Rain Forest. […]