Ever stand at the base of a tree so tall that you can’t see the top? Or driven through a forest so dense that you wonder if you should turn your headlights on, even in the middle of the day?
These are the types of experiences that await you not even an hour north of one of America’s finest cities, not long after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Saved from last century’s logging frenzy because it was hard to access, the grove of old-growth coast Redwood trees (Sequoia Sempervirens) in Muir Woods provide a sense of serenity where birdsong can echo through the lush dark green forest for what seems like miles.
I’ve hiked here three times before and can’t help but return when I’m in Marin County; there’s a magnetism to these woods that soothes the soul. Yes, there’s the sheer awe of trying to see the top of a 252-foot high tree (the tallest tree here) and the futility of trying to capture a 14-foot wide giant in a photograph.
But once I learned these magnificent giants are 800 – 1500 years old, there’s a certain reverence I sink back into each time I visit as I walk, humbled, at their “feet.”
As you drink in the wonderfully crisp, fresh air that they produce, you are so far removed from your email inbox, your Facebook feed, and the blinking red light on your office phone, that a smile washes over your face, and you may not even be sure why. THIS is The “Nature Effect” you’re experiencing.
If this conveniently distant experience calls your name, then clear your calendar in early October, when the tourists are fewer but the late-summer California warm temperatures remain.