Visiting Muir Woods

I have always loved trees. In my youth I had an obsession with the Fisher Price Treehouse and a burning desire to live on the forest moon of Endor (despite the Ewoks). In recent years I’ve also enjoyed climbing fire lookout trees in Australia and the magnificent tree-top walk at Kew Gardens.

So, despite visiting San Francisco many times I'd never visited Muir Woods, home of the coastal Redwoods. In March, I rectified that.

Naturally the trees are flipping majestic (the tallest natural objects on Earth no less), but in comparison to the Australian forests or the rugged splendour of nearby Yosemite, Muir Woods has a strangely contained and melancholic atmosphere.

The history of the area plays its part. Thousands of acres of coastal Redwoods were lost as the great rush to California created an insatiable appetite for lumber. You feel that the remaining trees, cradled in this small valley, are clinging to the edge of existence.

The heavy mist that rests in the valley soaks up all background noise, leaving you with a peaceful but startling silence. It's as if sound has been turned inside out lending a sense, not of age, but of timelessness.  As you wander through the trees you come across signs, that would be at home in a church or library, asking you to enjoy and preserve the tranquility.

Muir Woods is a only short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, but it could be another planet. I only spent a few hours there, but for those few hours I felt like I had finally made it to the forest moon of Endor.