Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bolinas Ridge Trail - March 20, 2010

Location: Point Reyes, CA
Length: 9 miles
Elevation Change 1,000 ft
People: Mike (Dad), Jeremy, Vitor, Serena, Josh, Jamie, Chris, Mocha and Lucy

We went to visit our friend Jamie for the weekend and get in a great hike. Friday night we arrived at Jamie’s and her boyfriend’s, Chris, mountain home around . They have an incredible home they are renting right on the edge of the Point Reyes National Seashore area. The house has one room, bathroom, living room and kitchen with a wraparound porch. Off the back side of the house and porch is an awesome little solarium at the top of a set of stairs that give a fantastic view of the city of Point Reyes.

Upon arriving Jamie informed us that there had been a mountain lion around that had eaten 2 of her chickens just a few days before. So we all opted to sleep inside the house and solarium. Mocha and Lucy became fast friends… in a sense (more to come on that).
The next day we took it easy while we ate fresh eggs from the chickens in the yard and caught up with Jamie and what is happening in her life. Then we discussed which trail we should or could take. Jamie’s house was literally right next to the Point Reyes rim trial which was one of the few trails that allows dogs. But we ended up going with the Bolinas trail outside of the National Seashore area.

The trail is a one-way hike so we dropped off the majority of people and Jamie and my dad went to drop off a car at the picnic area at the end of the trail. The beginning of the trail was on a farm road walking right through a herd of cows. I haven’t had much experience with cows, other than driving by them on the 99 in McFarland, so to walk by the cows I realized how huge they are and how small I am. Of course to Lucy, Jamie’s dog, thought they were just giant dogs that were meant to play with. Despite all the yelling we did at her she decided to chase the cows around the field.

The cows did not like this at all, especially because there were calves in the group and they started to charge Lucy. Chris got a hold of Lucy and we walked as quickly as possible through the cows. I am proud to say that Mocha started to follow Lucy’s lead but with a quick holler or two to her she stayed on the dirt road and left the cows alone.
The trail meanders up the pasture for about a mile where you have to walk through fenced areas and more cows. We managed to make it to the mile marker that told us we were on the right path. We followed it the rest of the way cow free, thank goodness. It meandered along a hill crest where there were views of the coastal mountains on both sides. Since we were still in the wet season everything was green and there were ponds and puddles all over the place. At one point we came to a grove of eucalyptus tree which were the thickest I had ever seen them get. Serena and I got a chance to hike quite a while together and chat it up. It was really fun to catch up and get to know each other.

Shortly after the eucalyptus grove we climbed a rolling hill and came to our turn off, 6 miles in. The turn off then took us 1.5 miles straight down the hill side on a fire road. I have never hiked such a steep trail! Serena and I went down it together and we had to stop a couple of time because our toes kept hitting the front of our shoes. Once we reached the bottom we found the dogs, Jamie, Chris, Vitor and my dad down by the river enjoying the scenery. We all continued together along a flat trail to a parking lot where we found Jeremy and Josh waiting for us because they didn’t know where to go from there.
From that point we traveled another 1.5 miles on a nice flat trail that was right next to the river. The dogs enjoyed being able to run along and not be hindered by cows. We ended at a nice little picnic area where Jamie and my dad had left the car. We pulled out the cooler and started frying up some burgers. I proptly pulled out the Renu Poison Ivy soap and washed all the exposed skin, just in case, because I don’t remember seeing a bunch of poison ivy, but knowing me, if there was even a leaf out there it would make me get oozing sores all over. The BBQ was a great way to end the hike, good food, good friends and the dogs finally calmed down enough to be normal. After that we all piled into the and headed back to Fresno.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big Sur March 13, 2010

Little Sur River
Length: 5.6 miles
Elevation Change: 1,200 feet
People: Mike (Dad), Jeremy, Vitor, Mocha and me

We have recently found the beauty and attraction of the coast in the winter. While it’s cold and foggy in the central valley we can travel 2 hours to a warm sunny place called Big Sur. There are also great places like Carmel, Monterey and Pismo to visit too. And all those pretty coastline pictures with cliffs and bridges come from Big Sur, so you can imagine how spectacularly beautiful it is there.

We have been to Big Sur a couple of times before but this trip was specifically to do a nice hike and scope out fun things to do during Thanksgiving when the Nimon Family comes to Carmel, CA. As soon as we turned off of Highway 1 we were under towering trees and small moss covered houses. Jeremy’s tagline for the area was, “Hate Sun, come live here.” To get to the first hike we took a narrow winding road to the top of a coastal mountain. Once we reached the top we could see all the way to a small little campfire that was burning off in the distance,

which we assumed would be our end destination. The trail followed a fire road for the first 1.8 miles going very steeply down the hillside. The views of the Coast Mountains were gorgeous, definitely a different view of Big Sur. There was then a turn off before you get to the boy scouts camp that takes you down a deer trail the remaining 1 mile. It was nice and shaded.

Then we were down by the river, at a quaint little spot with 2 camping spots right next to the river. It was very pretty and tranquil and cold! We did not stay down there for long.

Then we hiked back out! And man did it suck! Or maybe I sucked… sucked air that is. It was entirely uphill, no flat area, no dips in the trail, just up, up and away.
The best part was once we got to the top my mom wandered down to walk the last ¼ mile back with me because she claimed that the boys ditched me. To which I laughed because I am so used to hiking on my own, as the slowest hiker in the group. Plus those 3 guys are close to the fastest hikers I know. Once at the top we hopped back in the car and continued to the next more scenic and easy hike.

Partington Tunnel
Length: 1 mile
Elevation Change: 280 feet
People: Mike (Dad), Jeremy, Vitor and me

This was a cool hike my dad found in the Day Hikes Around Big Sur book he has. The trail is right off Highway 1, a little hard to find but well worth the hassle. It takes you down a short but steep fire road and over to an old tunnel.

The tunnel cuts through a cliff and spits you out at a “Pirate Cove”. This cove actually used to be used for loading and unloading lumber in the good old days

before the Sierra Club… oops did I type that out loud?! It was a wonderful view, right up next to the ocean and the crashing waves and no sand on your feet or between your toes. In my opinion the whole coast should be like that. And look like that, smog free and salty tasting, so maybe there is a place in this world for the Sierra Club.

Out on the rocky, cliff side point there was a bunch of people fishing and there was a nice bench to sit and relax. It was a serene place. After that we hoofed it back up to the top to meet up with mom and Mocha at the car. Jeremy made sure to stay back with me while coming up the hill so that my mom wouldn’t get mad again.

McWay Falls
Length: 0.5 miles
People: Mike (Dad), Kathy (Mom), Jeremy, Vitor, Mocha and me

This is a hike we do every time we come to Big Sur. It is the picture on the front of the Big Sur hiking book and my dad had to find it. We also found out it is one of the most photographed places in California. And you will see why. The trail is very easy, flat for the most part. The trail takes you to a view point that shows the waterfall perfectly! And it also puts you right at the base of an old house that has been demolished and grown over for the last 50 years, the history person in me loves that. It is just breath taking. Which I know I have been saying on all of these hikes, but they really are spectacular, which is why we like this newly discovered gem we have found on the central coast of California!