By Phyllis Elswick,
If you have never visited Muir Woods, near San Francisco, California I highly recommend it. It is absolutely beautiful. When my daughter and her family moved to California in 2005 it gave me the excuse for traveling there. They moved to San Carlos for a few years where my two beautiful granddaughters were born. Last year they decided to move to the city, San Francisco, California. There is so much to see here with one of my favorite places to visit being Muir Woods. I grew up in the Appalachians Mountains in Eastern, Kentucky, so, I suppose that is why I love the mountain areas. I was able to purchase a seniors pass for any United States National Park. My son-in-law paid $10.00 for my pass which let us all enter the park at no extra cost. Wow, I was amazed, I can visit any National Park and take all my party at no cost. I love it.
As we began our hike through the woods we saw a mother and two baby deer standing by the creek. Isabel and Indigo loved it. Indigo, who is two years old, got excited and wanted to watch the reindeer. As we walked she kept looking for reindeer. Don’t you just love the enthusiasm of little children? Walking along the path and seeing the huge redwood trees is amazing. I keep thinking how awesome God is in His creation of the world and all the beautiful things he created for our enjoyment.
Throughout the forest there are plaques that tells the history of certain areas. Here is the history I read on one of those plaques in the middle of the forest, – In 1945 delegates from all over the world met in San Francisco to establish the United Nations. On May 19, they traveled to Muir Woods to honor the memory of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose death one month earlier had thrown the world into mourning. President Roosevelt believed in the value of National Parks as sources of inspiration and human renewal. He also believed that good forestry practices and sustainable development of natural resources were keystones to lasting peace around the world. Organizers of the event hoped that the profound beauty and serenity of Muir Woods would inspire the delegates to pursue the president’s program for world peace as they met to establish the United Nations. – I cherish these bits of information. As I am hiking through the forest it brings the history alive.
Harold Ickes, US Secretary of the Interior, 1945, said, “…here in such a ‘temple of peace’ the delegates would gain a perspective and sense of time that could be obtained nowhere in America better than such a forest. Muir Woods is a cathedral, the pillars of which have stood through much of recorded human history….”
Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United States Visiting Muir Woods in 1955 said, “Persons who love nature find a common basis for understanding people of other countries, since the love of nature is universal among men of all nations.”
There is a section of Muir Woods called Cathedral Grove, which has a plaque that says “Cathedral Grove was set aside as a quiet refuge to protect its natural soundscape in an increasingly noisy world. The soundscape is vital to animals for hunting and foraging, courtship and mating, nurturing young and avoiding predators. By walking quietly, we experience the natural sounds of a living ancient forest. We hope you enjoy the beauty of Muir Woods through both sight and sound.”
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.” – John Muir.
In Muir Woods there are several paths you can take. There are high paths and long paths for those avid hikers. There are low paths and short paths for those with little children or those who are limited. Going on a hike in the forest with a two year old and five year old we chose the low shorter path. The girls loved it, they walked and ran, stopped and stared. It was wonderful seeing the amazed looks in their little eyes when they saw something that fascinated them. They especially loved the huge trees with the opening in the middle. Indigo wanted to play in the playhouse, as she saw it. Of course we had to go in the gift shop where they each chose a wolf stuffed animal.
As we hiked along the path their wolf had to ride along the top rail. Although with little children you don’t get the full experience of a hike through the forest, you get the full benefit of seeing the forest through a little child’s eyes. Just seeing them enjoy their walk in nature is worth everything. They make it all worth while.