So this was a whole day trip away from San Francisco, but totally worth it. Ryan and I had both never seen any RedWood forests before. It felt like a whole new world entering the forest!
I fell in love with all the intricate and delicate details and shapes of the forest. there were thin ferns everywhere, and the biggest clovers I had ever seen. The bright green moss covering the trunks and rocks was stunning, and everything had such a quiet reverence to it.
and who knew! right in the middle of the woods there is a little visitor's center with an organic cafeteria! We had some tomato soup and grilled cheese with a golden carrot. It was so delicious and more gourmet than expected!
such a lovely lovely breathtaking place! I think this was my favorite day of the trip.
And now for a story...it actually took us all morning to get to this place....John Muir Woods to be exact. we had heard about it from people and read about it on the internet and it seemed like the best, closest place for us to visit while on our trip, so we punched the location into the GPS and took off at 7 in the morning. The GPS took us to the top of a hill where a couple cars were parked, but there were no signs or any indication that this was the place that received hundreds or thousands of visitors each year. We kept seeing little posts that said ' tourist club parking only'.....'tourist club clubhouse'.....and we weren't quite sure what that meant, but nothing said no trespassing so we found a road that wound down into a forest, where a little post said John Muir Woods Trail.
The road wound down really steeply for quite a ways and then broke off into dirt trails. We followed the one that said Redwood trail...sounded promising- that's what we were looking for. We hiked for three miles through a dense forest with no really huge trees, never seeing another soul on the trail, and suddenly the trail popped us out on the top of the forest along the panoramic rim and continued along there. whaaat. we tried to use our iphones to orient ourselves and find out where we were and how we had gotten so far off. The internet sources raving about John Muir Woods talked about a boardwalk, a huge parking lot, and a huge gate entrance, and hundreds of visitors....where were we? By now I had gotten quite a nasty blister on my heel and was hiking barefoot, and was getting a really sharp pain in the side of me knee. Neither of us had hiked since last summer, so I guess my body was rusty:(
We decided to hike back the way we came. we had passed a gate that said 'Tourist Club, visitors welcome,' so we thought maybe we could ask for help there. Three more miles and a seriously irritated blister later we walked through the gate and found ourselves in rather a surreal setting. Right in the middle of this dense, quiet forest, was a huge chalet, or perhaps network of chalets. There were huge, multi-level decks over looking the woods and a ravine, and on different levels were chalet style buildings. It was like Rivendell. We found an open door that looked like it opened into a sort of industrial type kitchen and found a man and a woman there who told us that we weren't in John Muir Woods, we were in the property of the tourist club, which was an organization founded 100 years ago by a German guy who loved hiking and traveling, and so established a 'club' with chalets all over the world to house fellow tourist club members who contribute by putting in hours maintaining the trails and lodges in areas near them. Then the lady got me a bandaid from her cabin for my blister, which really saved the day.
What an interesting, fortuitous little stumbling we had! Ryan and I are really interested in joining this club now, and plan to find out if there are any locations near New York when we moved there. We never would have even heard of anything like this if we hadn't ended up in the totally wrong spot! So we backtracked like crazy, got back to our car, and found the Woods we were looking for without the GPS's help. We didn't get there until late afternoon, and it got so crowded we had to park about a mile or more away, but it was still such a fun and beautiful day!