National Park Series 3: Muir Woods, Northern California
A Walk in the Woods with Keats
The last time I visited Muir Woods, I hiked the Dipsea towards the summit and descended the equivalent of 680 steps to Stinson Beach. I also complained about not being able to take pictures with my phone camera. Click on the link for the story: http://www.greencaviartravelblog.com/search/label/Dipsea
On a recent visit, I wanted to retrace my steps from that Dipsea hike, but few minutes after our ascent, I was gasping for breath. I was not in shape, perhaps from months of continued traveling and not having a daily workout routine. When my lungs finally calmed I saw the place, literally and figuratively, in a new light. The hike became a meandering in the woods. We took lots of pictures and completed a five-mile hike looping from Dipsea Trail to Ben Johnson Trail to Muir Woods visitor entrance.
|Lover of loneliness, and wandering,|
Of upcast eye, and tender pondering!
Thee must I praise above all other glories
That smile us on to tell delightful stories.
For what has made the sage or poet write
But the fair paradise of Nature's light?
|The blue sky here, and there, serenely peeping|
Through tendril wreaths fantastically creeping.
|A little noiseless noise among the leaves,|
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves:
For not the faintest motion could be seen
Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green.
|Full of sweet desolation--balmy pain.|
What first inspired a bard of old to sing
|Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,|
For great Apollo bids
That in these days your praises should be sung
On many harps, which he has lately strung;
And when again your dewiness he kisses,
Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses:
|A filbert hedge with|
wild briar overtwined,
|And clumps of woodbine|
taking the soft wind
|Upon their summer thrones; there too should be|
The frequent chequer of a youngling tree,
That with a score of light green brethen shoots
From the quaint mossiness of aged roots
|So I straightway began to pluck a posey|
Of luxuries bright, milky, soft and rosy.
|Was there a Poet born?--but now no more,|
My wand'ring spirit must no further soar.--
- Photos by Nancy O. De la Cruz
- Photo Captions: Excerpt from "I Stood Tip-Toe Upon a Little Hill" by John Keats.
- Muir Woods National Monument is a part of the National Park Service on the Pacific coast of southwestern Marin County, California, 12 miles north of San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. For additional info check out their website: http://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm