Sunday, June 23, 2002

Today is Leslie and my sixth anniversary! We already began celebrating yesterday, with a little day trip up to Marin to walk in the John Muir Woods, followed by dinner at Scoma's, in SF.

It turns out that the John Muir Woods is one of the most visited national parks in the country, and that the first weekend of summer is a particularly busy time. The giant redwoods are stunning (but, hey, we're used to that here in the Santa Cruz mountains), as is the setting, but at times it seemed more like Disneyland with all the people pushing their way along the trails.

The spot where the international delegates who first formed the United Nations gathered in 1945 is well marked as Cathedral Grove, although its significance was lost on many of those who read the plaque and then said, "But what the heck has that got to do with this here tree?" (The actual meetings that formed the UN were held in San Francisco. Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, suggest a side trip to Muir Woods because sitting among 300+ foot-tall, 1,000 year-old redwoods would help the delegates realize their own small place in the world, and help the cause of peace.)

Our quest, however, was to find the grove (unmarked) where Hitchcock shot Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo. We chose a spot that we each agreed was it, but frankly, it could have been anywhere.

We also saw a cute little chipmunk, a few little tiny fingerling fish, a beautiful Stellar Jay (better than your run-of-the-mill everyday Blue Jay), and many different exotic butterflies.

Here's some history: In 1905 Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 295 acres here for $45,000. To protect the redwoods the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument. Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but Kent wanted it named for conservationist John Muir. Muir was pleased and honored, and blushed just a bit.

- Visit the John Muir Woods (everybody else has)

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