Sunday, October 8, 2000

A Walk in the Woods

Today we walked in the woods... the cornfields... the pumpkin patch... among sunflowers... and the length of a mall. It was a lovely day.

I had plans to take Peggy to meet my mother and then for the three of us to drive to Guerneville, on the Russian River, for lunch, after which we’d go and look at the Coast Redwood trees (the tallest trees in the world). Despite getting a somewhat late start and encountering more traffic than we’d bargained for, we managed to make it to Guerneville in decent time. We had a nice lunch in town and then couldn’t pass up the inviting "SALE" sign on a shop across the street. Peggy made a killing there, getting some very nice things at end-of-the-season cut rate prices. It’s been very fortunate for her that she is at the end of our summer and will be returning to Australia for the start of theirs.

We then drove out to Armstrong Woods. Most people who come to the San Francisco area and want to look at the redwood trees drive to Muir Woods, which is just across the bay from San Francisco. But Muir Woods becomes a parking lot on weekends and it’s like trying to commune with nature during rush hour. It has a souvenir shop that is packed with tourists and you meet lots and lots of people on the trails. I have always preferred to take people to Armstrong Woods. Same big tall trees, you get a redwood slice so you can see the dates back to 965 AD, when the tree started to grow, but when you walk along the pathways you can go for long distances without encountering another soul. You can really commune with nature, take time to check out the moss growing on the trees, investigate redwood burls, take lots of pictures and really get the feel for the mighty forest. You can hear voices in the distance, but nothing seems intrusive. Your own voice gets lost if you move too far from your companion.

We hiked for about an hour, stopping to take pictures and read the signs on the path. Eventually we had to leave the soft path and return to the pavement and go back to the parking lot. It was really a lovely afternoon.

We decided it was too late to drive out to Bodega Bay and home along the coast road, so we went back to Hwy 101. En route we passed a pumpkin farm with a cornfield maze and a patch of sunflowers. We had to pull off and go investigate.

Finally Peggy was able to take photos of sunflowers and she got some lovely ones.

We went to the pumpkin patch and took more pictures there and Peggy was also able to get her wish of seeing what it was like to walk in a cornfield. We bought a small pumpkin to bring home and cook up for dinner tomorrow night.

And then down into civilization, leaving all this nature behind, we went to the Northpoint Mall in Terra Linda, where Peggy and I both bought new clothes at Lane Bryant (for once I out-spent her), after which we tried out a new Chinese restaurant for dinner.

The evening ended at my mother’s, where Peggy used her sewing machine to fix the hem on some new slacks she’d bought ('cause obviously there is no available sewing machine here!), and, after a cup of coffee, we came on home.

Peggy decided she was very pleased to have met my mother. The two got along very well, as I knew they would.

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