Friday, July 17, 2015

"Field Trip" to Bay Area Discovery Museum, Marin Headlands & Muir Woods

     Had a nice trip with Jess, the boys and Marta and Carla - our two Spanish Exchange Students - over to the other side of The Bay today. 
     We went to this place first, near Sausalito:

The view from inside the museum's park-grounds was phenomenal.

The boys had a blast. . .
The one-man construction crew:

Marta and Carla were very good with the boys, helping them out wherever and whenever they could, like with some of the shoveling.

This was the neatest thing. . . . Large threaded rods with bunches of washers that the kids raised up over their heads and dropped, then watched them spin downward making a zinging noise as they came down. Simple, but mesmerizing!

Curious George had his own Playhouse there. And he was there "live and in-person" at a book-reading and then roaming the premises. I didn't get a photo of him because he was mobbed wherever he went in the park.

In another building the kids dressed up like animals. Charlie was a ladybug for awhile, then decided to become a turtle after that.

Soooo. . . . Our next stop today will be the Marin Headlands for lunch, which see below. Here's the gals and boys on our way out of the Discovery Museum:

Munchkin munches his lunch:

 Then we continued on to Muir Woods, enjoying the scenery along the way. . . .

Nice view of Sausalito and Angel Island (the island whose opposite side I see at the west end of Rte.24 whenever I travel from Martinez to Alameda, back on the other side of The Bay).

Looking farther north. . . .

Mt. Tamalpais, "The Sleeping Princess" of Marin:

We got to Muir Woods around 2pm. . . .

Interesting info on the placards. But not as serene a place as back in John Muir's day. The place was thronging. Only other places I can recall where I've heard so many foreign language speakers were the Empire State Building's and World Trade Center's Observation Decks, Niagara Falls, and while biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. This seemed more like Disneyland than a hiking place! In spite of all the signs urging people to be quiet (trying to instill the sense of wonder Muir once had in his surroundings), there were lots of folks yelling. I was glad that I have my own little hiking trails back on the other side of the bay, with some solitude and peace.

An interesting ring of trees, forming "a family circle". . . . The procreator tree of this group once stood in the middle of the ring, but died and disappeared a long, long time ago.

A park docent gave a very good, informative talk. . . .

Going UP. . . .  Taller than a lot of office buildings.

Teddy Roosevelt's buddy, who was passionate about conservation but who lost his position as head of National Parks a few years after TR left office when Washington politics reversed direction under Taft. This plaque, placed in 1910, must've been put in-place very shortly before his "fall from grace."

Johnnie would be amazed at the changes in this park since it was opened, back in his day. . . . But it does at least give us "touristas" some idea of what the expanse of much of the Bay Area was like back in the times before the loggers cut much of the trees down.

The bottom sign is taken only as a "suggestion" by most visitors.

 This is actually a composite of three panoramic photos.  Not exactly how I expected it to come out, but it gives you some idea of the immensity of the trees:

Gives new meaning - in my mind - to the word "Burly". . . .

 Gee, the panoramic shots can be done vertically!

Two paths diverged in a wood and I turned around and went back. Not enough time to take in more of this park. Maybe some other time.

Unnatural. Hammer marks on a fallen log. Why???

Graffiti had been on that log, but the hammer marks are National Park Service's method of combating that. A shame that it had to come to this.

Natural damage I can understand. Like fire damage. . .

Folks who damage the place tho are a completely different matter. I found myself yelling - as pleasantly as possible, of course - at a fellow who had left the trail, apparently by climbing the split-rail fence that enclosed the trail, to do I-don't-know-what but it seemed to me like he may have been ready to carve some initials into a tree. He responded by asking me, in what seemed like a German accent "Should I come to your path or to this one over here?" I replied, "Any way you want, but you really are not supposed to be there and you do know that, of course." My East Bay Regional Parks Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol "juices" had kicked-in. He did go back over the fence and onto the trail opposite me. . . .

There were three bridges that went across to the other side of this stream so that you could walk a path that was on either side of the stream. . . .

Another vertical panorama. . . .  It's the elephant elevator operator here, going up. (A little "inside joke" for Jessica, James, Charlie and Teddy!)

Another burl. This one very different looking.

More natural damage. . . .

We left pretty late in the day and hit a lot of traffic on the way back to my place, but the scenery along the way - again - was interesting:

I'm lucky to have such a great daughter-in-law, who picked me up at my home and then took me to today's "venues."

The fellas and gals who call this place - not far from that road - their home, tho, aren't so lucky.  
Hint, hint; click this:  
Johnny Cash - San Quentin (Live from Prison)

 Not far from there, a nice ferry terminal, taking passengers from the area to San Francisco:

We crossed the Richmond Bridge, and could see The Pretty City off in the distance. . .  just beyond a small "rock island" in the Bay.

And beyond the oil-tanker terminal pier jutting out from our side of The Bay. . . .

So all-in-all, it was a great trip. And it helped me understand why anyone visiting the Port Chicago National Historic Site, over here near my hometown, has to show all kinds of I.D. and go thru that park only escorted by a Tour Guide. Port Chicago is a near-religious experience, as I understand it. A landmark in America's civil rights history that not enough people in this country know about. I am going there tomorrow with a group from my "55-Alive" MeetUp organization. If you don't know about it, look it up on Wikipedia:

Enough said. Don't like to end a blog on a "downer" but nonetheless I've got to get some shuteye tonight, since I'm getting up very early to get over there and take that tour.  G'nite!