Muir Woods and Muir Woods National Monument

You can’t go to Northern California and not take time out to checkout Redwoods and Sequoias some of Earth’s oldest and tallest trees! On holiday vaccay easier this year to San Francisco, Hawaii and the Big Sur, we wanted to see for ourselves these amazing trees. 

Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks were under snow and when P looked to see how far Hawaii was from California, Hawaii won. Luckily just north of San Francisco is Muir Woods and Muir Woods National Monument, a National Park filled with Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias. 

Most of the photos are noisy with ISO as it was my first time shooting in such light. I wasn’t sure of the levels shutter speed or aperture so please excuse the noise and look of some photos.  As usual I’m a bad editor cutting down photos.

If driving there you have to book up in advance the parking ticket. No advance ticket, no entry. About 1-2km from the park are signs reminding you last chance to book up before as there’s no mobile or wifi coverage once in the park. Parking is $8.50, entrance $15 per person. Under 15’s free. A shuttle bus is available from near by towns.

The main show is the monument, a mostly boarded loop trail in the thickest darkest part of the forest. Redwoods are the stars here. I wanted to do the Panoramic Trail (once the ocean view walk before the trees grew blocking the vista) however time was an issue before the park closed. A ranger recommend the Canopy trail, a 4.8km/3mi approx 2 hours hike that connects with Lost Trail and and part of Fern Creek trail looping back to the entrance. He mentioned it’s great for lefties. Being mixed handed I loved the trial until it looped back in favour of righties. The path flowed. We got there around midday on a Sunday with the trial already getting busy. If you want peace and quiet, no human voices go early. It was so obvious we were the tourists in our winter coats while the locals were in t-shirts and tank tops. No way was it warm enough! It was the same temps as back in Barcelona and everybody there was in winter coats.

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Muir Beach

We stopped by after visiting Muir Woods National Monument earlier this year on our holiday vaccay to Northern California and Hawaii, Muir Beach. A cove, lagoon and beach that’s nestled along the coast by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park. Though it was January it was still busy when we got there near sunset with a switch from the day beach goers to the dusk beach goers. 

We didn’t stop long, only exploring the beach not the beach overlook as we wanted to look around Sausalito before it got dark. It was enough time for me to understand the magic of California beaches. All beaches have their charm. Maybe it’s the hype, maybe it’s because California is known for its beach life, maybe because it was my first California beach, maybe it was the mid winter light. Either way I can see why California beaches and the sea ocean draw people under their spell. 

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Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock

Last October P, D the cat and I took a weekend road trip to Bilbao. D was his usual drama queen self in the car. We figured out to put the litter box available for easy access and remind him passing police, he had to get back into his transport box, which wasn’t happening as it’s D. He was at trooper all weekend enjoying pre cooked roast chicken we thankfully found in Hypercor otherwise who knows what would have happened if he had to eat normal cat food. The shits. Sadly it was his last road trip before he said his last see you later in December. I still can’t believe he’s no longer here. He missed his brother AJ and I think he just wanted to be with his brother. 

The Saturday we explored Bilbao, the Sunday we went to Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock in English. A castle, St Juan de Gaztelugatxe built on a little islet along the coast of Biscay. Steeped in history it’s been a hermits hut, castle, fortress, refugee, chapel, laid under siege, caves prison to ‘witches’, Game of Thrones Dragonstone set and a pilgrimage site. Depending on how you see it the weather was in our favour. Sunny clear skies would have been great but the drizzly rainy day added to the feel. The way the sea crashed the shoreline matching the jagged rocks and coastline. The one time we got someplace early and experienced the lesser foot traffic before the afternoon visitors picked up. Had we been usual time getting anywhere foot traffic would have been high, queue for vistas while the Instagrammers got their selfie. 


Access is free although they prefer if you book online. Maybe it speeds up the ticket office work. Parking is plenty with overspill car parks. Hiking boots are recommend even though the path down is paved it gets slippery when wet and it’s steep in places. The Basque region is a luscious green thanks to its rainy climate. Walking back up, several were wishing they had different more grippy shoes as they clung onto the handrail getting down the 35 degree slope.

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Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling. Information Signs Oahu, Hawaii

Part 1 of Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling was all Californian information signs. Part 2 of Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling is Oahu, Hawaii information signs, general signs and notices.

Star Wars droidesque parking meter

Just like the Cali ones and info signs all over the world, in the shortest, most concise way information signs let us know what we can and can’t do in all languages with or without words. No sh*t Nat! The psychology behind them is something too. Designers know we don’t look up walking or only a little head. Picture info signs can leave you guessing alternate situations to what they want to say or meanings lost as your imagination runs a little wild. When it’s Hawaii that mystical place that does exist when you get there, none of this matters as it’s Hawaii. All signs, notices, parking meters are just cool.

Diamond Head State Monument
Diamond Head State MonumentDiamond Head State Monument Pinch me I’m in Hawaii beers. I initially thought these were cat food. Cat food always has a cute happy cat on the label. Does this beer do something else? Continue reading “Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling. Information Signs Oahu, Hawaii”

Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling. Information Signs California

It’s amazing the things you notice travelling outside your natural habitat. One thing that stood out for me on holiday earlier this year in California was the information signs.

Signs I’d seen a million times in photos and on TV in a pinch me moment I’m seeing in person. Universal information signs that need no words, but sometimes leave you guessing optical illusions or alternate different meanings. The for real am I here info signs? Or anywhere in the USA if you live outside of the USA. The psychology behind them. Knowing most people look down or only a little ahead walking. The grammar’s different too. I find the USA English uses a more formal language with signs than UK English making them seem at times a little old fashioned and proper.  

One of my favourite signs that caught my eye were No Dumping signs next to road drains. I’m a sucker for animal designs so of course I noticed these. I think every town has a different design. I didn’t get all train spotting looking out for them. Just when I came across them.

San Francisco Continue reading “Nerdy Stuff You Notice Travelling. Information Signs California”