My family and I are on a quest. But don’t tell the kids.
Our goal (okay, my goal) is to visit as many national parks as we can. To some, this may sound tedious, but so far it has been a terrific experience. Last summer we saw Yellowstone and Grand Teton. This past weekend, while visiting relatives in Northern California, we visited one of the most beautiful corners of the planet–Muir Woods National Monument.
This forest takes my breath away. Some of the redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens for you plant experts out there) are more than 1,000 years old. The tallest tree in the park is is 250 feet and the widest is 14 feet.
Statistics don’t impress you? My kids weren’t impressed either. In fact, they were pretty lukewarm on visiting the forest until I mentioned that Ewoks live there.
In case you’re not a Star Wars fan, Muir Woods is the inspiration behind the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Remember Princess Leia zipping around on the speeder bike? Loved that scene. And it just so happens that the real-life forest is in Marin County, which is home George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch.
Most of the world’s ancient redwood forests have been cut down, but Muir Woods is one of the few remaining areas where these trees thrive. The fog that rolls in from the Pacific keeps the trees shrouded in moisture and provides water for the forest. It’s an amazing ecosystem, but even if you’re not interested in all the science behind it, it’s simply a beautiful place to spend the afternoon.
We walked in the woods. We listened to the birds. We gazed up at the astonishingly tall trees–the tallest living creatures on the planet, which is so, so cool to see.
It was a wonderful time. Everyone enjoyed it, even though we didn’t spot a single Ewok.
As we were leaving the park we did, however, see a father and son setting out for a hike dressed as Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper, so I guess we weren’t the only Star Wars fans in the neighborhood.
Have you visited any national parks? What is your favorite? I’ll add it to my list!
Anyone who comments will be eligible to win a signed copy of any book in my Tracers series.