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A visit to Muir Beach (after a return to Muir Woods)

On Tuesday, December 30, we paid a visit to Muir Woods (along with 500-1000 of our closest friends :-) from all over the world!) and Muir Beach, both in Marin CountyMuir Beach is 16.5 miles (26.6 km) northwest of San Francisco and about 2 miles (3 km) from the entrance to Muir Woods. Both can be accessed from Highway 1, which is actually pretty thrilling (southbound and uphill, you are on the edge of the road toward the canyon; northbound and downhill you have gravity pulling you toward the abyss :-) ). Please stay on your own side of the narrow winding road that clings precariously to the canyon wall.

I wrote about Muir Woods back in October (latitude and longitude are in the earlier entry), but I did not have suitable photos from my earlier visits at the time that I wrote the blog. In that blog entry, I noted that “Muir Woods is a very popular place. In 2005, Muir Woods had 776,000 visitors.” There is probably never a good time to visit Muir Woods to avoid crowds (during a heavy rain? :-) ), but we were fortunate to find a spot in the parking lot closest to the entrance, after several unsuccessful laps around ALL of the parking lots. In addition, folks were parked alongside the road perhaps 1/3 of the way to Muir Beach. I noticed that much of the paved walkway had been covered by wooden walkways, which is just wonderful EXCEPT during long “time exposures” in photography, in which vibrations from passersby on the suspended wooden walkway can affect the photos. The day was sunny and warm for this time of year (MUCH cooler in the moist air of the redwood grove than at the beach). We visited in early afternoon, which was good because sunshine is blocked from entering the deep valley during the morning and late afternoon, at least it was on December 30.

I had the pleasure of meeting a family from Egypt, who live in England. The gentleman was photographing light through the redwoods, as I was, and I offered the use of my tripod. I welcomed the family to the United States. The family had only three days left in their visit, and I gave them some business cards to take back with them.

If you visit Muir Woods (and you SHOULD! 😉 ), be sure to take a tripod for photography. It is AMAZINGLY dark in that majestic grove of redwoods. I took a number of photos and will add them to the earlier blog entry from October, when the photos are ready. (Note added January 11, 2009: Done.)

Muir Beach (37° 51′ 50″ N, 122° 34′ 53″ W), according to Wikipedia, is about 1000 feet (305 m) long and 200 feet (61 m) wide, with a large, though pitted, parking lot and restrooms and a wooden walkway to the beach. Muir Beach is also the place at which Redwood Creek enters the Pacific Ocean. Redwood Creek drains Muir Woods and provides a critical spawning and rearing habitat for coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch; also known as silver salmon), and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), according to park literature. Also according to the literature (available for $1), coho salmon is a federally listed endangered species and steelhead trout are threatened. Redwood creek is one of the last streams to support wild populations.

Muir Beach, in addition to being a beach, is also a census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, with a population of 295 in the year 2000 census. In the year 2000 census, Marin County had the highest per capita income in the United States, at $44,962. The per capita income of the Muir Beach CDP was higher than this, at $66,476. The median income for a household in the CDP was $125,402, and the median income for a family was $152,174. None of the families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line. Of the people in the CDP, 4.2% were under the age of 18, 2.7% were from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 46.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

Muir Beach CDP is unincorporated and receives services (fire protection, water, road maintenance [for those sections of Highway 1 that tend to slide down into the canyon], etc.) from the Muir Beach Community Services District, which also services the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center.

I will add links to the photos of Muir Beach to this blog entry, when the photos are ready. (Note added January 11, 2008: Done.) Muir Beach is a beautiful little beach, with distinctive rock formations and a very tall hill that you can climb for a magnificent view.

(Note added January 9, 2009: In rereading this entry, I realized that I should tell visitors to San Franciso two more things: 1) tour buses travel to Muir Woods, and many areas of Marin are serviced by regular bus routes, 2) one of the reasons that I like the area is that visitors can see MANY things in a small area – the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands and Point Bonita, Sausalito, Muir Woods, Muir Beach, Mount Tamalpais (“Mount Tam”), Stinson Beach, the Muir Beach Overlook, and a SPECTACULAR section of California coastline along Highway 1 between Muir Beach and Stinson Beach. The only danger, aside from traffic and gravity, is that you might just keep on driving! It is the danger that one of the instructors in my Motorcycle Safety Foundation course described as, “You go out for a loaf of bread, and you wind up in Tahoe!”) :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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