The valley-set redwood trees of Muir Woods are impressive on their own, but there’s an extra something special—a mix of “permanent” and “precarious”—in the trees leaning over on the hillside.
A study in the contradictions of California and the importance of federal lands: In the foreground is Coronado, home of resorts and Navy SEALs. This is the developed, modern California. The cliffs in the background are Cabrillo National Monument, where the first Europeans reached the West Coast in 1542. I imagine that the peninsula would be equally carpeted with homes if not for the presence of the monument. I appreciate the contrast.
Muir Woods astonishes and tempers with its beauty, but I had trouble avoiding the feeling that it was all a bit manicured and controlled by man. At first, that disappointed me. When I thought back to some of the gorgeous Zen gardens I’ve visited, however, I realized that curated natural beauty can be just as spectacular and authentic as true wilderness. The gentle drizzle between sequoias and down into the creek is the American version of the Zen garden.