Saturday, September 23, 2006

Duir Woods?

So last Saturday, we gave to the environment by helping out with Coastal Cleanup Day. On Sunday, we received. The Sample's song Nature is going through my head now. "Nature, it's all around me. Nature, it's so astounding." (Click on the "Nature" link or here for the MP3.)

Since we'd purchased a National Parks Pass at Yosemite the previous weekend, (Admission to that park is $40. The National Parks Pass is $50 so purchasing one was an easy decision.) we decided to put it to use by going to Muir Woods. All of us had been there before but we hadn't been together.

I talked Cam and Sam into stopping for a picture in front of this sign. It is becoming a tradition and will be fun to continue to look back on how we change in front of it over the years. (See pics of Sam and I in front of this sign.)

We'd woken up early and as much as I was looking forward to going to Muir Woods, I thought the park opened at 9 am and that it might be nice to work with Sam to help him post something on his blog about all of the remarkable things he's done lately before leaving. But Cam noticed that the park opened at 8 am and while the park is just a couple of exits away, we do have to travel a bit on Hwy to get there after exiting off 101. So we decided to get a move on.

The early start paid off. We parked in the second spot from the entrance to the park and were there before the rangers. No one was working the desk at that hour. Looks like we could have walked right in to the near empty park even without our pass but at least we have it.

Walking in the main entrance, we were immediately amazed by these trees, which are some of the tallest in the world.

Not far down the main path, we noticed a side path leading to Ocean View Trail. A sign told us that due to tree growth, there was no longer a view of the ocean but it looked like it did lead to something called Mountain Home. Cam thought it sounded interesting so we branched off.

It was a nice, peaceful hike. Mostly up-hill which served to get our hearts pumping and warm us up which was nice. It is cool in the early-morning shade of these enormous coastal trees. We didn't see many people until we gave up on finding Mountain Home and hiked back towards the main trail. In the time we were off hiking (about a mile up and a mile back), the crowds had arrived at the main trail.

Just before joining the crowd, we noticed three deer (a doe and two fawns) grazing just off the side path. They were very close and didn't seem to be bothered by all of the people at all. We pointed them out to some other people with small children who were standing nearby and continued on.

Piggyback rides were employed to get deeper into the park, away from the crowds (and to get some snuggles in).

Soon, we were out of the congestion, practically on our own again. We talked about how fun it will be to come back to the woods throughout the year, in the rain, on random weekdays off, etc. Since our admission fee is already paid, we can come for quick trips as well as longer ones.

We saw another deer. Then a bit later, someone repaid our earlier kindness and pointed out another deer to us. Can you see her in the shot behind Sam? She didn't seem bothered by our presence at all.

Her reaction to this buck was a different story. When we were about to move on from watching the her, he appeared. He was captivated by her. He kept approaching her and she kept moving away from him. Their dance was fascinating. We watched them for awhile until she finally moved off.

Farther into the woods, we noticed another doe with fawns. We saw another buck attempting to interact with them. In about four hours, I counted 10 deer. It is possible some of them were the same deer but we thought they were different animals in each encounter.

Sam took a few nice photos of us by these trees. Check out Cam's post for a picture of some smooching.

Towards the end of our loop, back near the main entrance, we encountered this amazing burnt out tree. Sam and I had visited it before when we were here five years ago. At that time, he loved running out of it appearing to scream. Were we those tourists with screaming children whose proximity we now avoid? I didn't think so but who knows? Guess we are all a bit more subdued now.

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