In Muir Woods National Monument, with its towering coastal redwoods as monuments to the conservation movement, I stood among ghosts and giants.
It’s taken over a year to really sink in: I’ve backpacked Yosemite National Park. Thousands–maybe millions–of people have already accomplished that feat, so what makes the fact that I’ve done it so special?
If you don’t do your research and show up in search of the solitary Monterey Cypress standing sentinel on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, what sticks with you after your visit may not be the warm memories of a leisurely drive along a spectacular stretch of coastal California. Instead, you may be left reeling from sticker shock.