Saturday, 6 July 2013

Muir Woods and Bodega Bay (The Birds)

The closest set of Redwoods to San Francisco are at Muir Woods about 20 miles north of the City – hence they get very busy and if you are going to go there and hope to park (particularly in an RV), you have to get there early in the day.

Muir Woods Entrance

And so just before 8 am, we arrive at the woods to find that they are open but that we are so early that there is no charge for entry until 9 am when the staff start work.

Muir Woods Tree Rings-1

Immediately inside of the entrance is a segment of a tree showing

Muir Woods Tree Rings

key dates in American history – this tree started growing in 909 AD (before Alfred the Great) and died around the outbreak of the Second World War over 1000 years later/

 Muir Woods Muir Woods-1 Muir Woods-2

The trees are their usual majestic tall selves and because we are there so early, the woods are very quiet and calm as we set off on an undemanding walk.

Muir Woods UN Placque

In the centre of the woods is an area called Cathedral Grove which shows a group of trees at their majestic best. The particular significance of this grove is that when they were considering forming the United Nations in May 1945, all of the delegates were brought to this spot because it was felt that the global significance of “majestic nature” would positively influence the process of forming the UN and also so that they could collectively remember Franklin

Muir Woods Cathederal Grove Muir Woods Cathederal Grove-1

Delano Roosevelt who had died recently but was a strong supporter of the concept of a United Nations.

Muir Woods Hillside Trail Muir Woods Hillside Trail-1

If you walk to the furthest extent of the flat trail, you can come back via the hillside walk which has fewer people on it and hence you have more of the forest to yourself

Muir Woods Hillside Trail Shamrock

including these enormous “three leaf clovers”

Muir Woods Bear Muir Woods Bear-1 Muir Woods Bear-2

And for Sam and Corran, here is Nana Pat getting to know the three bears who lived in the forest.


Our walk took us about two hours at a very slow pace

Muir Woods Parking

and our RV, which had been on its own when we parked it was now hemmed in by lots of other cars which could  not get into any of the packed car parks.

It is a great park to visit but only if you get there early and leave before the crowds arrive.

Bodega Bay

Some 60 miles further up the coast and sitting astride the San Andreas Fault is Bodega Bay (where we have chosen to spend Independence Day) and near to it but slightly inland is Bodega. Both are famous for being locations were the famous Hitchcock film “The Birds” was shot (as well as at film studios in LA). Despite the film, the area does not go out of its way to capitalise on its fame, other than that

Birds Country Store

the Country Store in Bodega has a collection of Birds

Birds Advert

memorabilia outside and inside

S Birds Alfred and Us 

and Alfred dropped in whilst we were there to ask for advice about his forthcoming film.

Birds Church

The Roman Catholic church features in the film and also in a famous photograph by Ansell Adams. It is very recognisable in the film

Birds School House

whereas the School House (actually a private house) is less recognisable.

At Bodega Bay, Bay Hill Road looks just the same as in the film

Birds Bay Hill Road

whereas the Gaffney Ranch has gone leaving

Birds Gafney Ranch Site Westshore Road

only the trees

Birds - I'm watching

but when we were down at the Port, the Birds were assembling

Birds we're waiting 

in rather too similar a way to that in the film.

Bodega Head (it does not feature in the film) is a lovely place to walk

Bodega Head

with beautiful views over a rather wild sea

Bodega Head-1

both up and down the coast

Bodega Head view

and the most wonderful profusion

Bodega Head Flowers

of wild flowers

Bodega Head Flowers-2

growing along the cliff top

Bodega Head Flowers-1 Bodega Head Flowers-3 Bodega Head Flowers-4 Bodega Head Flowers-5 Bodega Head Butterfly on Lilac  

Bodega Bay is very nice place (despite the dreadful acting in a great film and the poor special effects).

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