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Pacific Coast Highway Album: San Francisco & Muir Woods

Last in a five-part series (see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

A view looking up Lombard Street, the famous “crooked street” in San Francisco.

We concluded our tour in San Francisco.

Left: San Francisco harbor, with Alcatraz in the distance. Right: The view down Lombard Street.

Left: We had just crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. The view looking back at San Francisco was hazy indeed, and a photo of the bridge itself impossible. Right: Just turn the camera 90 degrees to the left, and the view is a completely different story.


Muir Woods has some of the last old-growth Coast Redwoods near a major city. (The rest of them are much farther north.) By 1900, most of the original redwood forests had been cut down. Muir Woods remained intact mainly because it was extremely difficult to reach. Businessman William Kent bought the 295-acre site in 1905 and donated it to the Federal Government. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed it a national monument in 1908.

Left: Entrance to Muir Woods National Monument. Right: A view of the redwoods from a distance (actually taken after we had left the park).

Left: Yup, they sure are tall. Right: There are many downed trees in the park. Though the redwoods are among the longest-lived trees, they do eventually fall after 1,000 to 1,500 years, or so.

Left: Note the odd growth pattern of the tree on the right. Right: Robert inside a “fairy ring” of related trees. Note the fire damage on the large center tree. There hasn’t been a major fire at Muir Woods in 150 years, but many of the trees have lingering scars from past fires. Though fire damages redwoods, it seldom kills them. They actually benefit from occasional fires, which kill off less hardy species, opening the canopy to sunlight, and making room for new redwood seeds to germinate.

Left: A waterfall. Right: Sometimes, a fallen tree blocks the path. Here, there was just enough space to squeeze through.

Left: The bulbous structure is called a “burl.” Normally they are closer to the ground, but this one is up in the air. Eventually, a new trunk will sprout from here. Right: Father and son inside a hollowed-out tree trunk.

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