Where I would die

I don’t get out too often and so when some poor relative or friend comes to visit, I pile on trips to all those places I want to see again and again until I die. Number 1 on my list is always … Muir Woods National Park.  I know you’re thinking – what’s the big deal?  Just a bunch of old growth coast redwoods, some towering over 250 feet and 200 to 800 years old.  No amusement rides or zip lines through this primeval forest.  If you survive the drive to the Woods, which is narrow and winding enough to require motion sickness pills,  what’s there to do?

You could fall deeper in love, like this couple.

Or meander up one of the many well-maintained trails.  We passed on this one as it led out of the cool canopy and into the sunshine of a very hot day.

Or contemplate the textures of a stump. What life this one has seen!

Or count the burls on a tree.  Imagine this, each burl is full of un-sprouted bud tissue and serves as a storage compartment for the genetic code of the parent tree. The burls themselves differ in function and are the subject of much research (click here if interested.) 

Or you can practice the art of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.”  Walk slowly and quietly. Listen to the songs of these ancient beings.  Feel the tension lift off your shoulders and breathe in the camphor of the canopy.  Bathe your senses.

Unfortunately the Woods, which used to be off the beaten path and known only to locals, have become quite popular, so if you want to visit, go early on a weekday morning before the wood nymphs, fairies and trolls have gone into hiding.

18 thoughts on “Where I would die

  1. I also love Muir Woods! The smell of fresh pine there is also wonderful, and there are enough hiking trails that it’s impossible to get bored. I think it’s a national monument though, not a national park. Thanks for posting these lovely pictures!

    1. Luckily the place never changes. They are doing some repair work on the creek in an attempt to bring back the salmon but it’s the same today as it was decades ago.

  2. Oh I’m all about the idea of forest bathing. I’ve never heard that term but I like it. The trees in your photos are amazing. Nothing even remotely like them around here.

    1. There are groves of old growth redwood trees throughout Northern California but none within an hour of a major city. Thankfully it’s not that easy to reach and they are attempting to keep it from being over run by tourists.

  3. Ah… forest bathing and burls. If anything can save us, these be them. Thank you, Jan, for these beautiful photos and restoring thoughts.

    1. They definitely provide us with an escape from all the craziness in the world. I was amazed as how clean the place is – no trash. Despite the huge number of visitors they get.

  4. It’s cool to be thinking about where we want to die, if we’re lucky enough to get a choice. And to collect memories of places we might not be able to get to in a few years, or that might not be there anymore. Happy forest bathing.

    1. There’s a section of Muir Woods called the Cathedral of Trees and when you walk through it they ask that you do so quietly. Bath in the serenity. No everyone complies but most people.

      1. What a great idea to have that area for quiet –
        And yesterday we walked an old “slave trail” here in Virginia – first time on that path – it was nice – but nothing like the redwoods

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