Day 2 of 3 dawned bright and early. I mean that literally. San Rafael is far enough north that the beginnings of summertime mean the planet's axial tilt is sharp enough to allow the sun to rise at least an hour earlier than I'm accustomed to. The result was an unexpected beauty at 05:15. The saving grace was that San Rafael is also two hours behind our normal timezone, so it felt like 07:15.
We got out fairly early the second day. Our destination was Stinson Beach and some of the hiking trails around it. The area was breezy and cool, which was counted as a good omen. The planned route was a little ambitious at about 9 miles, considering that we hadn't done any hiking any recent months, and we still weren't sure how well our knees would hold up. Despite any reservations we might've been secretly harboring, we ventured forth with smiles on our faces and hope in our hiking hearts!
|The fools didn't know what they were in for...|
The first trail we took (Dispsea Trail) led up the mountain. What we didn't realize was that there was a race of some kind on that trail in the opposite
direction, coming down the mountain. As such, we wound up spending a decent amount of time on the ascent standing respectfully aside for runners, some of which had clearly taken tumbles during the race. One poor girl looked like she'd been on the losing end of a prize fight. Her slow and staggering descent served as a solemn reminder of yet another reason to NEVER RUN A RACE EVER AGAIN EVER!
The area is heavily wooded and wonderful to walk through. I've always liked the color of light as it makes its way through the foliage to the forest floor. I especially like it when its also illuminating a certain Tanya...
|Seriously, have you ever seen anything so lovely? The woods are nice too.|
After a couple of hours on this trail, we made it to the top of the mountain. The ascent had been a gradual 1500 feet or so, and we felt pretty good after making it up. It was even cooler and breezier at the top of the mountain; I wish this blogging software supported video better (or at all without hacking the html), because I've got a cool clip of the fog rolling around through the trees, sounding exactly like rain.
One quick note: there were lots of bicyclers at the top as well, although they all seemed to be street bikers. Driving
up those winding roads was challenging enough. Riding
up them is something I couldn't be paid to do.
The path back down was along Matt Davis Trail, and it was dramatic and even breath-taking in places. The air was still quite foggy despite the strong breeze, so the trail felt very empty as well as mysterious. I'll stop telling and start showing a little.
|That's fog, not sky. What's over that ridge?!|
|Surprise! It was a bunch more fog!|
The fog wasn't at a constant level; it flowed over the landscape here while rising above us there. It almost seemed to stick to the tops of some of the trees.
|Three hairs and some air to paint all this!|
(If you don't understand that caption, I urge you to watch more Bob Ross)
The path on this trail wandered in an out of the trees quite a bit. The fog obscured our view anytime we were in the open, and gave re-entering the trees a slightly ominous feeling.
|No, that's OK -- you can go first, honey.|
After another couple of hours of walking through this, our legs were shaky, but we emerged from the mists and made it back to the beach!
|Civilization! Well, as civilized as Stinson Beach can be...|
For anyone that has access to this area and hasn't walked it, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. It was one of the coolest walks I've been on, and I would love to do it again. We actually considered going back there the next day, but quickly realized two things: first, we were going to be sore and foot-tender after today's walk, and second, we had other outings to attend to.
Last stop: Rodeo Beach
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