(A) Walk in the Woods

Historical patterns of land conservation in the Bay Area mean that the gradient between densely populated and relatively “empty” spaces is particularly steep. That nearby density means that maintaining “wild” spaces requires a theme-park like approach of fenced, paved trails. Given the erosion challenges faced by the peaks of the Adirondacks, perhaps this isn’t the worst solution.

(A) Walk in the Woods

American Zen

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.

American Zen

Crashing California Cliffs

Not far from Muir Woods, the Pacific coast cliffs of California are a starker, steeper, and foggier place than I expected. The nearly sheer cliff face, the scraggly trees hanging on for dear life, and the weather- (and person-) beaten railings make the whole place feel mythical. The fog density hit just the right soupiness on this particular day; we could just barely see and hear the waves crashing on the rocks below.

Crashing California Cliffs