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Day in Muir Woods

Gleek was excited to go see the redwood trees. The boys were along for the ride willingly. I guess they’ve learned to trust that Mom takes them cool places even though all she could really say about it was that there were trees. Link was less than pleased to learn that there would be walking involved. He pictured looking at trees out the window of the car, maybe getting out at a few viewpoints. Muir Woods is all about walking. You walk from way down the road where you finally found an empty space. Then you pay to walk inside, where you walk some more. On the way to the entrance Gleek looked around and said in a disappointed tone “Where are the redwoods?” The woodland was lush surrounding us, but the redwood groves begin in a very specific place and that is beyond the gate. Once you get to them, they’re hard to miss.

Link is the tiny red dot. He’s 5’9″ inches now. Redwoods are big.

The trees aren’t the only lovely things. There was a carpet of shamrocks [correction: Redwood Sorrel] almost everywhere we looked.

These weren’t tiny clovers like we see in Utah. They were big.

Gleek watched for a four leaf shamrock, but she never saw one. I’ve seen plants similar to these sold in pots. They’d always looked a little wilty, not struggling, but not thriving. It was really nice to see them where they belong.

Redwoods can live for a thousand years or more. The big ones were all there before Europeans ever thought to travel across the sea. I thought about that as I looked up and up to where they reach for the sky.

I also thought about it as I looked at the new growth which sprouts from the base of a damaged tree. These sprouts might be twenty years old. I wonder whether there will be people to admire them when they’ve grown tall.

We walked and walked. After the first bit, Link stopped complaining. In part that was because I bought him a map of the park, which meant he was in charge of planning our route. He likes that. The main trails are boardwalks full of people. Everyone was polite, but I loved it best when we headed up on a dirt path. It was a two mile walk with lots of up and then lots of down, but we were mostly alone with the trees. I liked that.

I also loved that we passed by a spot that I recognized from long ago. On my sixteenth birthday I brought a group of friends to Muir Woods and we ran along the trails. This picture may not look like much, but I remember standing exactly there while one of my friends took a picture.

I pointed it out to my son, who is sixteen now. It meant very little to him, but for a moment it was as if I could see that version of me, so young and energetic.

Muir Woods was definitely worth the trip, though we spent two hours in rush hour traffic while trying to depart San Francisco. I’ve now done my California-native duty by my Utah-raised kids and given them the experience of inching along the freeway surrounded by vehicles. I imagine they’ll be speaking knowledgeably about rush hour traffic to their friends upon their return. Hopefully they’ll also talk about the trees.

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