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Friday, June 22, 2007

Golden Gate NRA: Muir Woods

20061209 Redwood Forest in Fog
Redwoods in Fog

While beginning and ending in Muir Woods National Monument, this hike went well outside of it as well.

My friend Erik and I were on the same project together at work, and could have worked this particular Saturday. I did work the next few weekends, but that day I just really needed to get away. So I made my first ever visit to the redwood forest of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and took Erik with me.

We started at the main parking lot, which still had open spots. Later in the day even the auxiliary parking lot gets full, and people circle around waiting for someone to leave. We put on all our hiking gear, which made us look quite out of place among all the tourists who just stroll around the boardwalk and paved trail and return to their cars. I always enjoy having foreign tourists around me speaking other languages, as it makes me feel as though I am on vacation.

20061209 Vertigo
How did I get a shot without people in it?

A lovely stream runs through the center of this area, with the boardwalk and paved trail running up and down each side, and a bridge across. Once we got to the hiking trail, Bootjack Trail, and started climbing, the crowds disappeared.

20061209 Creek

It was a foggy day with the occasional drizzle, but that only added to the atmosphere of this hike. It was dark, foggy, green, wet, and enchanting. The slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Of all my photos, I think the one below best captures the mood of the place that day.

20061209 Muir Woods

Bootjack Trail is a long climb up, but every step of the trail was a delight. At one point I turned to Erik and said, "You know, we could be at work right now." We both had a good laugh.

We stopped by Van Wyck meadow, and I had to get a picture of the sign--less for intentional humor of "POP. 3 STELLAR JAYS" than for the unintentional humor of choosing the adjective "stellar" rather than the name Steller, the German naturalist for whom the birds are named.

20061209 Van Wyck Meadow

Rather than return on the same trail, I planned on a loop. From Bootjack Trail we took T.C.C. Trail to Stapelveldt to Ben Johnson Trail, and took that the rest of the way back. We kept going down and down, much farther than I was expecting. I hadn't realized we had done that much climbing. These other trails were not nearly as enchanting as Bootjack Trail, but I prefer to see as much as possible.

Finally, we got back to crowded area and worked our way back to the parking lot on the opposite side of the stream from what we had been on before. Not long afterwards, a major storm moved in, and Erik and I raced it back to Sacramento.

Hike Summary

Date: 9 December 2006
Trail head: Muir Woods
Approximate distance: 6 miles
Links: Official website

2 comments:

Bud said...

I enjoy reading about your adventures, and sometimes I wish there were an easy way for me to get to some of the places so I could see them myself without killing myself to get there. But this place is different. I want to go there. I want to hike Bootjack Trail. I think you clinched it with the slithy toves remark.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

It's amazing the efforts that are taken, and needed, to confine people to trails in redwoods or forests close to cities.

I was shocked when I moved to south Oregon from the Portland area, to hike near Red Buttes Wilderness, and never pass one person on the trail in 2 years of hiking. We could explore off-trail all we wanted.

Fortunately, one of my favorite redwood spots is farther from a big city...

Grove of Titans Redwood Trees

Almost as far from San Francisco as the could be.

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About Me

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I love to learn about, visit, photograph, research, and write about everything that is interesting, unique, and historical about Northern California, and wherever else I should be fortunate enough to find myself.  I've spent many years scouring the roadside in my little car for interesting subjects and walking down hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada and along the coast to get to know the wonder that is Northern California.  I share most of this via photos on Flickr, and as much as time permits me to on my blog, the NorCal Explorer.  Fine art prints of my photos are for sale on Imagekind.