We drove into San Francisco towards the Golden Gate Bridge, while Becca chatted on the phone with Aunty Debbie and then Grandpa. I tried to persuade her to give up the phone at one point and she let me know that, no, she was still talking – she always has something to say! They may have regretted calling to wish her a simple Happy Birthday but I don’t think so, I guess it is great to be able to have a proper 2-way conversation without rote yes/no answers; she was sharing all about her world – good for Becca!
We joined the throngs of other people having their pictures taken at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook, for obligatory photos. The main refrain from the back of the truck when they first spotted the bridge was: “…but it’s not gold, it’s red, it looks good but why isn’t it gold?” It never even occurred to me that they would think it should be gold, makes a lot of sense though, clearly I need to start showing them pictures of places before we get there!
From the bridge, we continued a little way towards Muir Woods, a National Park Service site. The roads were tight, narrow and twisty and it was already quite busy; we eventually managed to find a parking spot in the second overflow – when we came out later, cars were parked along the road, over a mile away from the entrance – I’m not sure the kids would have been overly impressed by that!
This is a smaller park and although all four completed the Junior Ranger program, I had to send off their answers and request a certificate online. I’m not sure why they couldn’t look through the books there, we often have volunteers look over the books and swear them in; there were also at least a couple of Rangers around that we saw, I guess it just gets too busy.
The main draw of this Park is the redwood trees, which are incredibly tall and beautiful. They grow either from seeds or a burl – this is part of a root ball that spurns new trees, it’s quite a sight to see. As a consequence of a tree dying, the roots then bring about new growth, so very often, there are circles of trees surrounding a dead trunk in the middle. We were all fascinated by this: nature, you’ve got to be impressed!
We hiked the 2 mile loop which started out paved and flat and then took a steep incline, bringing us back and around, overlooking the area we had walked out on. The second part was much prettier and more wooded, although perhaps because they had all finished their Junior Ranger work, it seemed more enjoyable – although the programs are good, it does depend on their mood as to whether they choose to enjoy completing them or not….! One of the things in their books was neat: they had to create their own trunk timeline – for example: 2001, I was born, 2002, I learned to walk etc. An example had been given of one of the redwoods – born in the late 1800s, 1920, damaged by fire etc; it was neat to see how each ring told its own story.
We listened to a Ranger speaking by the tallest Redwood in the Park. The actual wood of the tree is very lightweight (we bought a small wall carving of a redwood, out of redwood, which is now gracing the wall of the camper thanks to the wonders of Velcro!). Redwoods contains a chemical called tannin, which gives them their red color and also assists in protecting them against fire, fungi and bugs.
We saw a large number of banana slugs in the park, apparently they find them as big as 10 inches long, we only saw some as big as 6” – big enough! While the atmosphere of the area is conducive to an environment for redwood growth (lots of low lying cloud cover means plenty of fog and moisture), it does make everything wet and damp. We enjoyed our hike though and loved the trees; it’s a beautiful park.
We drove down to Muir Beach from the Woods. Despite how cold and windy it was, there were still a number of people relaxing, playing in the sand and even a couple of kids in the Ocean – craziness, even our intrepid water-lovers stuck their toes in and immediately ran out, screaming! Dave and I were admiring the houses on the mountain side surrounding the beach area, although having seen how much erosion there is at the campground, we weren’t so sure we would have spent the money on these for fear they could disappear into the Ocean one day!
We didn’t linger long, the kiddums were eager to return to the camper for cake!
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)