We got out of town today, up to Muir Woods, a national monument. (Which in this case seems to mean it’s got park rangers, but it isn’t big enough to be a national park.) Muir Woods was protected by the work and legislation of Theodore Roosevelt, a man who enjoyed hunting animals, so cynically I figured he was really interested in securing more space to shoot bears in. But we didn’t see any animals being hunted by mustachioed American presidents while we were there today.
Muir Woods are at the bottom of a windy road, coming over the ridge from Sausalito. Sausalito is down on the coast, and feels like a marina with a small town attached; there’s boat after boat after boat lined up on the waterfront, looking glorious in the sun. Whether they’d look so nice with a bank of fog rolling in is quite a different matter; after all, San Francisco has the coldest summers (and warmest winters) in the country. Almost all the boats at the edge had price tags attached; some cost as much as a new car, some as much as the house I sold in England, some two or three times that. Boats can be safer investments than houses when you’re in an earthquake zone – possibly something to bear in mind. None of them were advertised with deck guns or surface-to-air missile batteries, which strikes me as a missed opportunity. Or perhaps everyone is just much more peaceable than me.
We had lunch down in Sausalito at a restaurant on the water. It was ok; nothing special on the menu, but with prices indicating that the view was really expensive. The decor was 1980s faded glory with slightly decrepit wallpaper; the staff were a little bit slipshod, maybe not that excited about bringing up another plate of clam chowder to some more out of towners. Felicity was happy though: her first ride in a high chair, ever.
My Sausalito lunch was about 300% carbohydrates: French fries, bread, more bread, ginger ale. I crashed afterward, passing out in a haze on the drive to Muir Woods, waking up dazed and confused as we navigated the switchbacks down into the valley. We walked about four kilometers through the trees; probably not enough to burn off all those calories.
At one point, there’s the Cathedral Of Trees. This is an area where you’re asked to be quiet to give the wildlife some peace. Half the visitors to Muir Woods don’t appear to have seen the sign for this, and some of the others are wearing incredibly impractical and noisy high heeled boots, and in any case a quiet human is still fairly noisy, and there’s all the forest the trail doesn’t go into that should be adequate for the noise-averse skunks and porcupines that inhabit the woods. I, uh, think.
Felicity fell asleep as we walked round, which was a surprise as she’s normally unhappy in quiet environments. She was very popular today, as a baby is a good handwarmer in chilly weather. Fortunately, she’s still sleepy tonight, which is important because we need our rest, and if she had woken up when the cacophony of emergency response sirens started below our window this evening, we might have lost the plot. But instead, living in Chinatown rewards us: Felicity’s immunity to noises is keeping her asleep and us calm.
For now (the two most terrifying words to parents). For now she’s asleep.