For my last day in San Francisco I decided to take a recommendation from my girlfriend and visit the Muir Woods. Located a 45-minute drive north of the city across the golden gate, the woods are a protected park of giant coastal redwood trees, some of which are greater than six feet in diameter and 300 feet tall!
I woke up nice and early because I knew I had a long bike ride ahead of me to get there. The weather was great, which helped tremendously. As I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge there was not a single cloud in sight and the city was perfectly visible from the bridge deck. I continued on from the bridge and wound my way along the west coast of the Richardson Bay. The route was full of cyclists! It seemed like the whole town was out enjoying the day. I passed through the towns of Sausalito and Marin City, enjoying great views and scenic waterfront. When I reached Marin City I noticed a lot of people lining up on the street for a parade, and quickly remembered that it was Memorial Day.
I stayed to watch the parade (I didn’t have a whole lot of choice, the road was blocked), and afterwards I turned inland and headed up the hillside towards the Muir Woods. After a pretty tough, half hour climb I reached the top and enjoyed an amazing view of the valley below and the city across the water. It was then that I remembered why I was so excited to return to California – the rolling hills are amazing!
After I reached the top, I enjoyed a speedy, windy descent down the other side towards the valley in which the woods were situated. The road was windy and steep enough that I felt like a sport bike flying through turns – I actually was slowed down by the cars behind me.
I finally reached the forest. While it didn’t seem that big from the top of the hill, it certainly did once I had descended into the valley. At the park I learned that the redwoods are one of the oldest tree species on the earth, and that at one time, they covered a huge area of it. After the climate changed thousands of years ago, their numbers dwindled but there are still large forests of them throughout the world. The park was nicely laid out; there was a boardwalk running through the valley and hiking trails running up the sides as well.
After about two hours of hiking and some great pictures, I decided I should head back before I got too tired. I had hoped to try and take one of the shuttle busses back to Sausalito, which would have significantly shortened my ride, but strangely enough those buses are not equipped with bike racks. So I headed back up the hill and back down the other side, across the bridge, and finally back to my hostel to complete a 57km bike ride for the day.
After I had made dinner and packed my bags, I got to meet my new roommates, a couple Swedes who had just gotten off their flight. We went downstairs and played pool for a while, but I decided to take it pretty easy, as I had to get up at 5:30 the next day to leave.