Magnificent Muir Woods National Monument: Thank You, John Muir
“Most people are on the world, not in it. ”
Memories of Good Times...
I made my home in the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. It was in the year 1998 that I first toured the beautiful Muir Woods. It left me spellbound. And little did I know that just a few years later my youngest son, Randy, would be married in Muir Woods. The marriage vows were exchanged inside the hollow of a huge redwood tree. It was incredibly romantic and spiritual.
The magnificent redwoods that makeup Muir Woods are a huge attraction for visitors and locals alike. Honestly, you just can't believe your eyes. Many folks come back again and again. The tallest tree is 258 feet although redwoods can grow to nearly 380 feet.
I remember being about 10 yrs old when I saw my first redwood. My family and I drove from Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park. I still remember how I felt when I first gazed with wonder at the "General Sherman Tree". I couldn't stop staring at it. I have been a tree lover ever since and feel a special connection with these offspring of mother nature.
If you were to ask me the question, " Of all the beautiful places you've ever visited, which place is your favorite?", it would be Muir Woods. Muir Woods is a magical, almost mystical place of giant redwood trees and luscious ferns. It's peaceful and quiet refuge provides a place where one can escape for the day, offering a feeling of being removed from the rest of the world. I am transformed as I gaze at the historical, lingering of the magnificence of mother earth.
As I inhale the endless beauty that seems to go on forever, I silently whisper to myself, "Thank you, Mr. John Muir."
John Muir: Preservationist
Who is John Muir?
John Muir was a Naturalist, Author, Environmental Philosopher, Glaciologist and Preserver of Wilderness.
He was born April 21, 1838, and was to become well known as "Father of the National Parks" and "John of the Mountains" and would live to become this country's most famous and dedicated naturalist.
Because of Muir, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks were established. He helped to draw up its proposed boundaries in 1889.
His books are filled with adventure...a treat for the mind, body, and spirit.
“I never saw a discontented tree.”
John Muir: Co Founder of the Sierra Club
Muir came to America with his family from Scotland at age 11. The Wisconsin woodlands inspired him greatly as would the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. He began his exploration of Nature by walking 1000 miles from Kentucky to Florida. He wrote an account of this walk in his book, A Thousand Mile Walk to The Gulf.
The Sierra Club was founded on May 28, 1892. Their purpose - to preserve national parks and forest reserves. John Muir was elected the first president with just a handful of members. Today membership is in the hundreds of thousands.
I was fortunate enough to visit the John Muir home located in Martinez, California, Contra Costa County. My home was in Walnut Creek, only a 25-minute drive depending on freeway traffic. The Italianate Victorian mansion includes 14 rooms and a nearby 325-acre tract of native oak trees and grasslands historically owned by the Muir family.
John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California.
Oh, Mr. Kent, Thank You Too
Who is William Kent?
I was surprised to learn that Muir Woods was actually the very first national park established on private land on January 9, 1906. That's right. The land was donated by William Kent (a former congressman). It was Kent and his wife who named the park after famous conservationist, John Muir.
I wonder if William Kent and John Muir had any idea this magnificent national park would become so famous. What a treasure these men left for generations to come.
A Quick History About Muir Woods
Directions to John Muir Woods National Monument
Magnificent Hiking Trails: The Interpretive and Hillside Trail
Several hiking trails are available and absolutely breathtaking. I have taken the Interpretive and Hillside Trail which is an easy 2-mile hike to Muir Beach. Thankfully, it is open year-round and is even wheelchair accessible. For hikers more endurable than I, the hiking trail to Stintson Beach is more challenging and duly rewarding.
If you are staying in San Francisco, Muir Woods is just a 30-minute drive away. So along with taking a cable car ride or crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to treat yourself to a day at Muir Woods. Oh, and bring your best walking shoes and a bottle of water.
Muir Woods National Monument Located in Muir Woods, California
An Interesting Foot Note
Muir Woods’ Cathedral Grove hosted the first United Nations conference May 19, 1945. Present were delegates from 48 nations to establish a lasting peace following the Second World War.
I'd like to know -
Have you ever visited Muir Woods?
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Audrey Hunt