Scooter Ride to Muir Woods

Friday was foggy. For those unfamiliar with San Francisco weather, it’s currently suffering from “June gloom.” Fog and drizzle hit in the morning, then again at night. Most of the fog burns off during the day, but the coastal areas often find the gloom lingering all day.

J and I decided to go on a scooter ride through the fog up to Muir Woods National Monument. The park is 12 miles (19 km) north of San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It protects 240 acres of old growth Coast Redwood. These aren’t giant redwoods like down south, but they are still pretty massive.

The Golden Gate Bridge was in the clouds, and the winds buffeted the scooter mercilessly. We exited and drove through Sausalito. The fog hadn’t made it over the hill yet, so the weather was nice. We stopped and looked at a huge colony of houseboats resting on the smelly mud of low tide. We decided to come back and take a better look after the woods.

Fog rolling in across the bay.

The view of Mt. Tam and the 101 Highway from the house boats across from Marin City.

After another quick jog on the 101, we exited and took the Shoreline Highway 1 across the hills to the coast. The road gets really pretty after the junction for Muir Beach and Muir Woods, though for us it was mostly in fog along Panoramic Highway and Muir Woods Road.

At the park, we snuck my scooter into the shadows of a tree next to a chopper so we wouldn’t take up a parking space.

Entry tickets were purchased for $5 each near a family of chipmunks playing on a wooden fence.

The entry to Muir Woods.

Rustic fence and flora.

The boardwalk was patched with pieces of metal.

Coast Redwoods.

Muir Woods is full of wood: the trees, the fences, the boardwalk. Unless it’s early morning, the central park is full of people. But the side trails are fairly empty. J and I went on a few mile side trail that promised an ocean view on a clear day. There was no view. Instead, we saw redwoods, snails, slugs, ferns, moss, and a variety of underbrush. At the top of the hill, we had an illegal snack of cheese and crackers and carrots. Numerous seeds fell of the crackers, likely causing a BP-grade environmental ruin in a few years.

Climbing a trail.

Passing through a trunk.

It’s hard to get a sense of scale of this clearing, but it was big.


More trail with little wooden bridge.

Crushed snail.

New needles.

Sign for the Lost Trail.

Moldy bark.

My walking shoes during our snack break.


Ground cover.

Path along the stream.

Looking up at clear skies and glowing, new needles.

I was overdressed for the hike, wearing two shirts, a wool sweater, and a coat. But all of those layers soaked up the buckets of sweat like a Tempur-Pedic mattress in a Texas summer.

We left the woods, and drove up the partially foggy coast. The Highway was perched on the edge of cliffs, dipping into tight wooded curves. We stopped for iceream sandwiches in Stinson Beach, then began the trip home.

Fog rolling in over Highway 1. In the distance is Twin Peaks radio tower.

My scooter.

Brown grass on the rolling hillsides.

Stinson Beach was windy but sunny.

Steep Ravine State Park cabins seen from the road. They look like a place where the Others would live.

Before leaving Sausalito, we took a better look at the massive colony of “houseboats”. The term is used loosely, as none of the homes could move under their own power. And some of the dwellings were really basic and dilapidated. “Shack barges” would be a better term for many of the buildings. The whole compound was visually chaotic: every building in a different color and style, crap lying everywhere, wires jumbled and strung in the Thai style.

One home was isolated from others. The wooden shingled, drooping building was built on a base that floated in a pool of water, except this water was landlocked and stagnant. It had been cut off from the bay, and was now a moat. As I studied this confusing structure, an elderly woman carrying a paper grocery bag walked onto the porch and let herself in. This was her home.

This houseboat is more of a shack barge.

Crafty porch.

Creepy, rundown residence with folksy cutouts on the wall.

The old lady’s drooping house with stagnant moat.

Thai-style wiring.

The Memorial Shoe Pit of Danny Joe.

Houseboat mailboxes.

I need one more scooter adventure before work starts. I don’t know where.

Archives for June, 2010
June 7th, 2010. Categories / Bay Area

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