Thursday, May 26, 2011

Muir Woods in Black and White, and a Wrap up of Northern California

Muir Woods Black and White

Since my wonderful trip to Northern California in January, I have posted a number of articles featuring the photography from this visit.  Sadly we have come to the end of the line – at least until I visit again.  The photography featured in this post comes from Muir woods.

Muir Woods Black and White-1

Before talking about Muir woods, Here are links to the previous posts from San Francisco, and north to Point Arenas, Sonoma Valley and Napa.

California Wine Country in the Fog

Northern California Seascapes

California Cows are Happy Cows

California’s Golden Gate Bridge

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If you are displaced Northern Californian, I hope these posts satisfy your need for familiar and beautiful scenes from the bay area.

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We took a very invigorating hike through Muir woods – about 5 hours of hiking which seemed to be up hill every step of the way.  The enormity of these redwoods is difficult to describe or even capture in the photography.  Sure, people benches and other objects provide a certain sense of scale, but even so, they do not convey the majesty of this beautiful park.

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Muir Woods National Monument was established by proclamation of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. Consisting of 295 acres, Muir Woods becomes the 7th National Monument, and the first created from land donated by a private individual.  The Monument is named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the national park system.

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Aside from the massive scale of these trees, one of the very interesting things you notice early on in your trek is the fire scaring on many of the trees.  In some cases, the fire has actually hollowed out “caves” in the base of the tree – many large enough to walk into.  What makes this even more interesting is that although this scaring looks fresh, the last forest fire that occurred in Muir Woods was over 160 years ago.

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The average age of these tremendous trees is between 500 and 800 years.  However, these are just youngsters in comparison with the elders estimated at over 1,200 years old.  These old redwoods can stretch as high as nearly 400 feet.  The tallest tree in Muir woods is considered a runt at 258 feet.  But trust me, when you are standing at the foot of these giants, I dare you to distinguish a 300 foot tree from a 400 foot tree.

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If you have the opportunity to visit Muir Woods, you will not be disappointed.  The views are spectacular and unforgettable.  The trails in the park are reasonably well marked and well maintained.  The layout of the park is well suited for a casual stroll or other more ambitious options.  If you want a little burn in your glut’s, Muir Woods can help.

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The last two photos are here to help provide a sense of scale.  As you consider these two shots, keep in mind that these are the “babies” running along a ridge line.  The elders are down in the valley and simply dwarf these infants in both girth and height.

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Thanks for joining  my tour through a small and beautiful slice of Northern California.

Have fun and go make some great photography


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