Last weekend, Danny and Jared and I hiked the strenuous Ohlone Wilderness Trail from Del Valle Regional Park to the top of Murietta Falls. It was a doozy. This hike and the last (El Corte de Madera Creek) were ostensibly training hikes for the John Muir Trail (JMT) this summer. I say “ostensibly” because, well, my anticipated start date for the hike is still 6 months out, I’m not really training with a loaded pack, and there’s no guarantee I’ll even be able to get a permit for the hike.
But if all goes according to plan, I’ll be hiking with my brother Matthew over 11 days in late-July or early-August. We’ll be taking the kamikaze approach and attempting to cover 20 miles/day. Hubris yes, but it’s also motivated by our experience of hiking similar mileage with our Dad on the PCT (who, as it happens, will be on the CDT at the time). In the interest of training, I’ve been hiking with a group of friends and acquaintances (Danny and Jared included) who are also planning on tackling the JMT this summer—though their group expects to stretch it out over a more humane 3 weeks, covering 10-15 miles/day.
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.
Ignorant of the overcrowding issues, we pulled into Mission Peak Regional Preserve late in the morning last weekend just as a parking spot opened up. I was impressed by the number and diversity of people attempting this 6-mile hike with 2100 feet to climb. Not surprisingly, the rocky summit was crowded. We ate a quick lunch at the top before continuing down the very steep Horse Heaven Trail back to the parking lot.
After getting married a year ago, Stephanie and I drove out to the northern tip of Point Reyes, a place called Pierce Point Ranch, hoping to see some tule elk. They weren’t around, but we explored the historic dairy buildings before heading out in search of oysters.
It was a complete coincidence that we ended up at the Pierce Point Ranch two weekends ago, to go hiking in celebration of our 10th Halloweeniversary! And hike we did: 9.5 miles out and back on the foggy Tomales Point Trail. This time we saw lots of elk, and even a coyote up close. Here are a few shots from the multi-rutted trail.