I’ve always been a little intimidated by the Dipsea, what with it being the site of the oldest, continuously-running trail race in the country, not to mention having a reputation for being mercilessly hard. But mostly I was intimidated by the fact that it wasn’t a loop. So on my only other attempt, 7 years ago, I hiked a few miles in, taking pictures of flowers along the way, and then turned around and headed back to Mill Valley. At the time I’m not sure I was as acutely aware of my limits (in terms of miles-per-day-hike) as I am now.
So when I looked at the Dipsea Trail again two weeks ago and saw that it’s “only” 7.5 miles from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, I was a little surprised by my prior reticence. I’ve been looking to push the envelope beyond my recent 12-mile day hiking threshold, so a Double Dipsea seemed like just the ticket. I left Mill Valley at 10:30am and emerged on the beach at Stinson at 1pm. Exactly 3mph, just like clockwork. I sat down in the sand facing the waves and ate my lunch of beef jerky, marcona almonds, and mozzarella string cheese. Then I got up, turned around, and headed back from whence I came. I arrived at my car around 4:30pm, about 3 hours after leaving the beach. A little slower, a lot sorer.