The Golden Gate

Day 15;Over The Golden Gate to Sausalito and Muir Woods

Anthony Bourdain:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

This is our last day in San Francisco and USA for now. Tomorrow we’re heading back home to Norway. So, today we’re doin’ the last few “must-sees” in the Bay Area. Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and the Muir Woods.

The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate

Sausalito is a small and charming town, more or less a residential area close to San Francisco. It holds a number of small shops and cafés – all in all a nice place to stroll around and taking in the sights.

It seems to be on the upper scale though, judging by the prices in the various shops.

Next Stop; Muir Woods

Welcome to Muir Woods
Welcome to Muir Woods

Muir Woods National Monument is situated some 20 km north of San Francisco and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It contains an old growth of Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, one of a few such forests remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area and indeed all of California.

Sunshine through the mighty Redwood
Sunshine through the mighty Redwood

Once the United States was home to a lot of Redwoods, but today, it can be found only in a narrow coastal zone between Monterey and southern Oregon.

Before the logging industry took its toll, there were an estimated 8,000 km2 of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a narrow strip along the coast. By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down and the timber used to build houses in the San Francisco area. Hence, there is a lot of wooden houses in San Francisco. Only one tiny valley was left untouched, mainly due to inaccessibility.

The Giants of Muir Woods

You feel rather small between all the enormous tree trunks
You feel rather small between all the enormous tree trunks

This was noticed by U.S. Congressman William Kent. He bought the woods for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them.

In 1907, a water company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek, thereby flooding the valley. When Kent objected to the plan, the water company threatened to use governmental force and took him to court to attempt to force the project ahead.

Kent however outsmarted them by donating it all to the Federal Government and thus bypassing the courts.

On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, and on the recommendation of William Kent was given the name Muir Woods after John Muir, a well known naturalist and one of the driving forces in establishing the US National Park system. A system that has become the model for nature preservation all over the world.

We shoulld all be grateful that the forest was preserved for posterity,

Muir woods

On the way back, the busdriver had one more thing to show us, namely the view that George Lucas had from his office window when he was planning the StarWars movies.

R2D2 - or the Palace of Fine Arts
R2D2 – or the Palace of Fine Arts


Back at the hotel, there was only one thing left to do and that was to pack up and leave, leave Courtyard, Marriot, leave San Francisco and leave USA. The hotel clerk sent us on our way with a large smile and she can be a fitting example of the friendliness and hospitality that California has shown us wherever we have been. Thank You!

The biggest smile in San Francisco - Courtyard, Fishermans Wharf
The biggest smile in San Francisco – at the Courtyard, Fishermans Wharf
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