Domedreamer Wanders travel blog


Before today I was only a person who wished she could see redwoods. Now I am a person who has seen redwoods, and I think it has changed me.

We came to California for one reason, and that is because when I was looking at Wyoming and Yellowstone on a map, and saw that it wasn't that far from California, and I realized that this could be my one chance in life to see redwoods, I decided that I was going to seize that opportunity. I have taken a lot of (completely deserved) teasing about my perception of distances, that heck, if you're driving all the way to Wyoming you might as well go all the way to California, but I really, really, really wanted to see redwoods. And now I have.

As predicted, I cried when I saw them. They may be the most amazing living things on the planet. It's impossible not to feel like there is some sort of wisdom locked up the in the rings of the trees. I was simply awestruck by their majesty. I know I was driving J and G crazy - I told G that what horses are to her, redwoods are to me (except that I have no desire to move to California, since I would not be allowed to live in the redwoods forests). It was an extremely moving, spiritual place to be - until all the 7 gazillion other tourists had to ruin it with their inanity. There is a place in Muir Woods, the park north of San Francisco where we saw the redwoods (or maybe they are sequoias - I am still not clear on that) called the Redwood Cathedral, and there are signs there telling people to be quiet and listen to the forest there. Well, they might as well have put up signs saying pinch your child and have a stupid conversation because it was the loudest part of the whole park. It was all I could do to keep from shouting "SHUT UP!" And there were inane conversations in a wide variety of languages, and I know you are thinking, "How do you know those people speaking German were having an inane conversation?" but believe me, you can tell, and the worst thing is, none of these people were even LOOKING AT THE TREES. They were just wandering blithely through this incredible grove of ancient giants, blathering away without looking to either side, or up, up, up at the beauty towering above them. I really think you should have to pass a personality test to be allowed in; if you don't love trees, then you can only go into the gift shop. If you can't SHUT UP when you see a sign asking you to be quiet, then you can't leave the parking lot. If you are going to stop in the middle of the Redwood Cathedral to wheedle your whining toddler, whose wails are wafting throughout the forest, into having a snack, then you have to stay home and watch inane cartoons. Because really, what is the point of being there if you are not moved by what surrounds you?

Yahoos aside, I was moved.

I did not lose complete faith in humanity at Muir Woods, however. Aside from once again being grateful for the wisdom of those who think to preserve such marvels of the natural world, I was pleased that when my brand new binoculars that I just bought the other day at Yellowstone, that are much better than any of the other binoculars I have, were lost by one of my companions, someone found them and turned them in at the visitors' center. I was feeling pretty glum about it, and figuring this was going to be just like the keys I lost in England (though not as expensive to replace, though it would be kind of indulgent to do so), but when we checked on our way out, someone had already turned them in. Whoever you are who turned them in instead of keeping them for yourself, I thank you.

We left Muir Woods by a different route (I sat in the back seat again!) heading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I should say that both the gps and our maps were rather inadequate for what we wanted to do, which is go to the National Seashore area overlooking the bridge, so there was rather a lot of wandering around and making wrong turns before we ended up at the bridge. G was asleep in the front seat by then, as she had not been feeling well that afternoon (we had curtailed our hike because of it), so J and I went to the overlook to, well, overlook the bridge. It was very cold and windy up there, but the view was excellent. There is an old, abandoned battery up there from the mid-1800's, which was built as a defense of the city - or rather, the bay. It was in use for about a hundred years, up until World War II, when the use of airplanes in warfare made it obsolete. It was, as the plaque said, a defense against an enemy that never came. Now it is just kind of spooky.

After we left the bridge we spent some more time wandering around making wrong turns until we ended up at Rodeo Beach, where we finally got a good look at the Pacific Ocean, and were able to put a toe in it. Well, all ten toes, really. In fact, J and I went in up to our ankles. G just touched it with her hand - she didn't want to get her feet all covered with sand. The Pacific Ocean is cold, and has wonderful waves - we don't get waves like that in Connecticut. Pity. I love the ocean. I don't like to swim in it, but I love it. There were surfers at the other end of the beach, so we walked down to watch them, and then G and I spent some time looking for little bits of sea glass among the tiny, multicolored, smooth stones that make up most of the beach (the rest is black sand. Weird).

When we left the fog was beginning to roll in from the Pacific, so we went back to the bridge overlook to see the bridge in the fog - and this was G's first look at it, because she had been asleep before. Then we drove over the bridge, just because it's there. This put us in the city of San Francisco, and there was one more place we needed to drive, just because it's there - the curvy part of Lombard Street, as seen in the fabulous chase scene in What's Up, Doc? It is a crazy street. I can't help but wonder if locals ever drive down it, or is it just the tourists, like us, who do so. It would have been more fun to drive down it without a massive SUV in front of us, but at least now we can say we have been down that street. It will be fun to watch the movie again when we get home with that knowledge in our minds.

Quite a wonderful day.

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