It had been a while since we had gone really backpacking because Jennifer had been struggling with getting hiking boots that worked with her narrow ankle, where an incorrect fit was causing boot shift and ankle blisters leading to very painful raw skin exposed where the boot rubs, and the other option was to tighten the boot so hard with two pairs of socks, that it was causing constriction pain.
Really, it was a no win situation for her. Mind you, I also have difficult feet to get boots for, but my blisters were more manageable (putting aside the small toe split and two toenails I did lose during our John Muir Trail 94 mile backpacking trip.
Anyway, Jennifer, while looking for usable snickers (having given on hiking boots), managed to find some non water proof hiking boots that seemed to be a good fit for her ankle, while I found wider toebox hiking boots myself. Neither are perfect but much better than what we had, so it was a good excuse to go try our new footwear over July 4th weekend.|
Jennifer planned a half car camping, half backpacking trip for us through local state parks we had never been to, and that it would have been a shame not to see if they do indeed get closed with the budget cuts (but we sure hope not).
Here's the complete track of our trip, including the park visits and scenic flights:
We started with Mt Diablo since neither of us had ever visited it thoroughly, and it indeed has some nice views from the top as well as nice short hike areas like the sand stones by Rock City. Oh, and we also got a little visitor during lunch time, which we did have to turn away for his own good :)
Jennifer thought we should go to see if there were any Chinamen left to free. Unfortunately, they had been driven off almost 100 years ago for fishing all the shrimp they could get their hands on in the San Francisco Bay, and shipping boatloads of dried shrimp to China :) (well, actually that part is mostly true).
Anyway, we saw the old camps, which had some historical value, and the state park itself was reasonably nice a quiet. Nothing super special, but still enjoyable. That might be one of the first in the list of parks to get cut though.
San Raphael Fair and Fireworks
This is where we spent the night on the way to Pt Reyes the next day. We happened to catch a county fair and some nice fireworks, so no complaints :) (actually the fireworks were better than the ones we got at home on the 4th).
Pt Reyes Day 1
The next day, we drove to Pt Reyes, and drove to the outside edges, which are quite a distance away and not too reasonable or interesting to hike to (although interesting to hike at).
That evening, we then backpacked to our camp site at Sky Camp with view of the ocean (kinda).
those sea lions were really good at climbing rock
but food was scarce, and the newborns were not doing well
at all :(
view from our lunch spot
many stairs down, which were fun back up
we had a few fresh oysters there
a few oyster shells :)
Pt Reyes Day 2
The next day, we hiked from Sky Camp to the water and back some other way. By then, Jennifer wasn't feeling too well unfortunately, with stomach problems and low sleep, so I hiked a bit more in the marshlands by the sea while Jennifer took a nap in the car.
lots of deer there too
Mt Tam Day 1
So, initially we were supposed to just go through Mt Tam on our way back, but we managed to get the unreserved handicap spot at the 14:00 auction for a nice camp down between hwy 1 and the ocean. It's a camp where the few spots get booked months in advance, and where the handicap spot isn't actually so good because it's car accessible, and very exposed to the wind, and boy does it get windy there. Luckily we were able to get a slightly better spot in a regular reserved camping spot where the relevant people never showed up. That said, even that spot was very windy until the sunset.
The site and views were pretty good though, even if the ocean view was actually pointing south and not west, so we did not see the sun set in the water, which is a bit of a shame, but oh well...
But before we got there, we drove up to the top of Mt Tam, which has quite nice views, and then hiked around the area until it was time to head down to our camp site. Among other places, we hiked past the West Point Inn, which is a backpacker hotel in the middle of a trail where old train tracks used to be. It looked like quite a nice place to stay at in the future.
bay bridge as seen from the top of Mt Tam
West Point Inn
Mt Tam Day 2
Since we slept there, the next morning we hiked up back the Matt Davis Trail to Pan Toll Ranger station after first hiking through Stinson Beach for some light breakfast. It was a nice little hike up (1500ft from sea level), a good place to have lunch and then we hiked back down the Dipsea trail back to our car.
Well, how about that, it had been just 10 years since my first hike ever in the US, which also happened to be in Muir Woods, so it was kind of nice to come back to it 10 years later. We actually did a kind of rushed 2.5 mile loop becuse we were running out of time, and also because the trees weren't all that different from some of the ones we had seen on the way down on the Dipsea Trail.
Yet, it was still a nice little loop.
we were very tempted to pick up a couple for dinner :)
This gave us just enough time to drive to drive to San Francisco for a very quick dinner, and some last minute tickets to see Wicked (quite an enjoyable musical).
You can see all the pictures from the trip here.