Monday, July 10, 2017

Muir Woods National Monument | California

"Here in this grove of enduring redwoods, preserved for posterity, members of the United Nations Conference on International Organization met on May 19, 1945, to honor the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, thirty-first President of the United States, chief architect of the United Nations, and apostle of lasting peace for all mankind." - memorial plaque in Cathedral Grove Muir Woods, 1945

Here is a post of many photos and few words. I think these are the best photos I have ever taken. I went on a hike in Muir Woods National Monument last July right before I moved out here to Boston. Somehow I never got around to editing the photos or sorting through them, but just looked at them when I felt homesick.

I already waxed poetic about Sequoia sempervirens, the coast redwoods, true icons of the Californian Pacific coast, on a previous post about Big Basin State Park, so I'll just leave these photos here.

Doe and fawn

Californians and non-Californians alike: please visit this place. Please hike beyond the first 1.5 miles of the park. The next time I come here, I'll hike to the beach. I hiked here alone and realized I'm seldom out in nature by myself. These are the most beautiful trees on Earth.

Take a look at these big ass trees

Here we enter Cathedral Grove, where some of the largest, oldest trees in this forest stand. This is probably as close as I will come to a spiritual experience, and this forest is probably as close as I will have to a house of worship.

Looking through these pictures, I feel a bit overwhelmed with homesickness for California. In college, I lived in a treehouse-like apartment in a redwood grove. My apartment in Boston is on the sixth floor a block away from the so-called "Methadone Mile." Though Boston has certainly grown on me (bricks and bricks and bricks and bricks and the ability to walk across the city easily, I know that the East Coast is not home. Somewhere out West is home.

But thankfully I'm back in the San Francisco Bay Area for awhile longer. This summer has been exhausting but so much fun. I have had the most wonderful experience doing research that I believe in, and learning as much as I can from the residents and attendings on the orthopedics service.

"Not only would this focus attention upon this nation’s interest in preserving these mighty trees for posterity, but here in such a ‘temple of peace’ the delegates would gain a perspective and sense of time that could be obtained nowhere in America better than in a forest. Muir Woods is a cathedral, the pillars of which have stood through much of recorded human history. Many of these trees were standing when Magna Carta was written. The outermost of their growth rings are contemporary with World War II and the Atlantic Charter." - Secretary of Interior Ickes letter to President Roosevelt, February 1945

“These great redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument are the most enduring of all trees. Many of them stood here centuries after every man now living is dead. They are as timeless and as strong as the ideals and faith of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” - Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., U.S. Secretary of State, 1945

The park is heavily trafficked near the entrance, but much quieter farther off. I'll go farther next time.

As much as I think I want to live somewhere else, looking at these photos reminds me that California is my home.

I didn't track my mileage or elevation gain, and don't have numbers to share. A bit more on logistics: I took a $5 shuttle from Sausalito to Muir Woods, which gave me a lot of time to look out the window and daydream about owning a cottage looking out over the Pacific Ocean, with redwoods on my property and within hiking distance.