Did you know that the redwood trees love to live with their family? Wherever you spot a redwood tree mostly you will see that there are clusters of trees together? That the summer fog plays an important role in keeping the redwood trees alive? That the creek which flows through the redwoods, is alive with flora and fauna?
We gathered these facts and a lot of other amazing information on our slow-paced and toddler-friendly trail walk with a forest ranger at Muir Woods, few weeks back.
As expats living in a new country, we always felt the need to know the local flora and fauna.
As a nature-loving family too, we also make sure that we know the trail hazards before we do a toddler hike so we prefer hiking in groups.
Toddler hikes should always be slow paced, so that they can rest and have some snacks. It is always great to have other toddlers along for the hike. This hike was special because this was also a Father’s Day gift from me to my husband and we all felt so rejuvenated after coming back. Even the redwood trees makes us respect family life which is so rare in today’s busy life.
We started early to beat the traffic and the hike was scheduled early too. The drive to Muir Woods itself is scenic once we cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Parking is limited too, so starting early is the best option. Pack snacks to bring with you, or there is a vegan-friendly cafe available (there are non-vegan options too.)
The hike started at the entrance arch which is the start of the main trail.The main trail is a paved boardwalk which passes the gift shop and cafe and bridge 1. The walk is toddler friendly and very safe.The big redwood trees creates a canopy of shades. You will spot those chipmunks very easily! There are slugs and ladybugs too. Spotted owls, which are nearing extinction, can be found in Muir Woods. Steps have been taken to preserve them. The ranger was always advising us to be silent and be receptive, which was very important because then you can connect with the wildlife there. She also advised us to stay on trails as going off the trail may be hazardous for us or for the animals living there too.
The ranger walked us through the boardwalk and showed us that some of the oldest redwood trees there may be 1,200 years old. Isn’t that amazing? That means they have seen the humanity grow. The summers in California are dry, so the redwood trees get their share of water from the fog which covers Mill Valley. The redwood creek runs beside the paved trail.
I was astonished to find out that the redwood creek is habitat to coho salmon and steelhead trout.The redwood creek flows into Muir Beach and is the lifeline for these fish. They migrate to the ocean and return to freshwater as adults to spawn. Though my toddler could not understand all these facts, she was busy finding the baby salmon there. She loved sitting on the bridge too.
Although I am sure that my toddler did not understand the talks of ranger, but she did like the fact that the place was so silent and nature was all around us. The ranger also showed her the cones of redwood trees which if pressed relieves a red chemical. The presence of tannins in the bark of redwood (Sequoia) is a strong natural defense against wildfire and thus the redwood trees are less affected by many big wildfires.The ranger walked us through many trees which had not been totally devastated by wildfire.
It was a 1.5 hr hike, as we walked through the broad trail the ranger talked about the issues of habitat degradation and preservation. There are lots of ways you can help preserve the beauty of this natural habitat, at least follow a few rules while hiking like staying on trail, not to touch any animals and being silent respecting nature.
We also learnt to count the age of the redwood trees.
Just as a token to remember our first guided walk we got the book “The tallest tree” for our toddler so she remembers the big beautiful redwoods which are a lifeline for the California coast.
I found the walk refreshing as we got to gather lots of information regarding the coastal redwoods which are important native trees of the California coast. I feel once you are aware of the natural flora and fauna, you become more connected to the place. And this hike helped us in achieving that. That little trek that day made me interested in visiting that place more often to explore the other trails and listen to the beauty of the place.
I would highly recommend visiting Muir Woods National Monument as a family, as I am certain you will love it from your first visit. Do remember to carry layers of clothing as the weather can change very frequently. Muir Woods is always so special. We can’t wait to go back.
We have a lot to learn from the redwood trees.
- Stand tall and proud
- Be content with your natural beauty
- Sink your roots into the earth
- Drink plenty of water
- Enjoy the view!