John Muir said “Keep close to Nature’s heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
And this week we did just that. Muir was a famous naturalist, woodsman and one of the earliest advocates for the preservation of wilderness the US. He helped establish Yosemite, founded The Sierra Club, and helped create the National Park system. We spent a day at Muir Woods National Monument, one of the last remaining old growth Redwood forests near San Francisco and famous among the Jr. Ranger crowd for its carved wood ranger badge.
On a winding but easy hike that follows Redwood Creek, the kids earned their Jr. Ranger badges by:
- Investigating a nurse log (fallen log that other saplings grow from)
- Identifying a burl (a rounded outgrowth on the trunk full of dormant buds)
- Counting rings in a cross cut log (no we didn’t count them all, as these are oldest living things on Earth)
- Crawling inside the trunk of a still living Redwood
- Leaning allllll the way back to see the tippy top of the tallest trees anywhere
- Studying how the trees grow as “families” with young and old encircled closely together
- And generally skipping, hopping, and running along the trail
And we learned a whole lot too!
Next stop: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks