The hills are alive...with the sound of BiG's blisters popping...

Point Reyes Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Our fearless hostess is actually 1)awake after getting her Starbucks 2)excited about trying on Lothar's sunglasses 3)Representing with the cap ^^

It was still dark when i locked my door ands and headed into the city, a thick, THICK layer of fog hovering over the ground.  The visibility was down to about 50 feet...could barely see the red lights of the car in front rolling along on the freeway doing 45mph...its a good thing im prepared for this sort of occasion.  I have a driving mix specifically designed for driving thru the fog in the morning ^^ once i reach the San Mateo bridge the fog clears to open up to a beautifully clear day emerging from its evening slumble.  Awesome start to an awesome day.

We rendezvous at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but not before a small pitstop for coffee hahaha...Kelly needs to refresh and refuel herself before a hike by pouring rich hot coffee directly into her veins.

Santa Cruz...betta recognize!!! Thats me with a 2L bladder & a 3L bladder...always training ^^
  While i am cueing up the music for our drive to Point Reyes, a latecomer arrives on bicycle so i have a full car pool...the more the merrier ^^!  I get a special treat for waiting for the last late comer: his name is Lothar, pronounced without the "h."  So, full to the brim, my little putt-putt speeds north with the sun to the east slowly rising to welcome a car full of vikings to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean.  I ask, "how long will we be driving?"  My answer is, "about an hour," so i hit the left lane and go to warp speed.  What i didnt realize is that we'd only be on the freeway for 30 minutes and the other 30 minutes would be driving along a windy single lane road in the back hills of San Anselmo.
The crew get geared...
..so in a word: we miss our exit hahahaha!!  Thank god again for my Blackberry GPS...within minutes we are back on track and once again headed for the hills.

Our meandering goes for a bit until we are convinced we missed a turn somewhere, so we stop off at a local bakery for a pitstop and to ask for directions.  This hike has been on the wish-list of our hike leader for some time, so he has not been on it himself and isnt familiar with the terrain at all ^^ bonus!!  The bakery proves to be quite a delight though.  Many people mention that its actually quite famous in the hiking circles as THE place to stop before and after hikes.  I must say this little place blew me away when i saw the front counter.  The pastries are big BiG BIG!!!  Gooey sticky buns toppling with walnuts, giant round sweet breads with creamy fillings.

And so our trail begins...
..i help myself to a lemon-orange scone...something dense and dry for my mouth on the trail.  This was a bit of an adventure for me since i do not normally like orange in my bakeries but it proves to be quite good.  The scone is not as dense as i had anticipated, crumbling into large chunks as i fold it in half.  Its quite soft to the touch but holds into together well in its chunks...if that makes any sense hahaha.  Now if i could only remember the name of the bakery...sigh hahahaha!!  Perhaps that'll have to be an update.

Our second rendezvous is the Point Reyes Hostel International, deeply embedded into the forrest overlooking the ocean.  Im surprised its so far from anywhere out there...the twisting turns on the road peppered with 15-20 mph turns.

The trail opens up onto the seashore...
  The thrid car is 15 minutes late, so we decide to take off for the trailhead, perhaps they'll meet us there.  But not 100 yards from the hostel does the late car speed past us, almost running me off the road...hahaha...so i turn around and we meet formally: 1) the late comers from Richmond & 2) the glad to be not dead people hahahah!!!

The trailhead itself is not impressive in itself, very low laying hills and cows greet us as we park, lock and load.  Once we finally begin, we end up walking down the wrong trail...the first of many missteps today hahaha...should have been a portent when we missed the freeway exit.  The first half hour is spent traversing back and forth along the seashore, tracking and back tracking, as the hike leader has no clue where the trail leads, which is good for me so i can use the time to get better acclimated to the environment.

These cows are really vocal when you come around...they play Marco Polo with themselves all day...
  Until i break my first sweat im a bit of a mess...afterwards though, i could probably wrestle a bear hahaha!!  We finally listen to the advice of some other people along the trail, and find out our initial stab at the map was the correct one, so we hop a barbed wire fence at the top of a small hill and the animals are loose ^^

There are a lot of cows out here on the hillsides, and they are runners...at least the little ones are.  Once the smaller young calfs start to take off (away from our approach) the lot of them start to tear away into the hills...at least they are heading away from us hahaha...no need to get trampled today...no need to get trampled today.  They are also quite vocal.  We take every oppertunity to answer back ^^ For such an experianced group, im surprised that so many people showed up to the hike.

  I suppose everyone needs a time out every once in a while.  We arent so much hiking as we are strolling along the trail, though our late friends are slowly falling behind around every turn, which gives me a chance to catch my breath as we wait at every junction...something im not accustomed to doing since its usually me thats dogging it hahahaha!!  I still find myself somewher in the middle, having to occasionally jog to keep up with the leaders up front, the tail no where in sight.

The rolling hills opens up to an expanse of calm water, a mini-delta of shallow water and mud.  The water closer to the green vegetation at the edge of the water is nice and clear, almost like a moving mountain stream...by the time we hit the beach the shallows are still clear all the way to the ocean.

Beatiful California weather out on the beach...
  The sand on the beaches are about 2-3 inches deep, so you do slide here and there a bit but nothing as annoying as hiking through dunes.  The air is still quite crispy without the usual stench of saltwater.  Once we pick a spot to have lunch everyone takes a seat and begins to munch munch munch immediately.  I am REALLY not prepared for their idea of lunch...within 15 minutes everyone starts to pack up and head back...sadness.  Here i was taking my sweet time enjoying the view.  Im practically stuffing my face for the next half hour "on the run."  I think it'd be best in the future anyways to just be constantly eating while on the trail hahahaha!!  We did get a small bonus (perhaps) when someone notices that theres a completely dried up, mummified remains of a seal right next to us when we unpacked our lunches.
This is our little spot for lunch...of which i barely got a chance to eat...they really grab n go in a flash...
  At first glance we thought it was a log of driftwood...not entirely grotesque but a bit of a shock when you finally see the head and mouth...ekkk!!

The second leg of the trail proves to be the most beautiful, as well as the most painful for me hahahaha!!  Rolling now on top of the bluffs overlooking the ocean, we come to a series of viewpoints (after having "jumped" another barbed wire fence of course, of course).  SPirits are still high as the early afternoon sun glances off the shallows, the waves lightly licking the cliffs.  Good time for the taking of mental images and a few more snacks.  The giant sand bars underneath the cliffs calm and sooth the lapping surf as they rush themselves onto the shore.  There are now many hikers stopped for a break here, smaller groups of 2's and 3's coming and going.

..seems to be the more popular trail (we came from the back end).  Its about this time though, that my feet are really burning up.  I initially thought it was just my feet getting mashed up from the trail, but this is a pretty easy trail even for me.  So it turns out to be me not wearing a lining underneath my socks.  I picked up a few smaller blsiters in Vancouver in September on the same shoes, but i suppose i had double bagged my feet.

Thirty minutes after we walk away from the cliffs we hit the forrest again, probably the last 5 miles of the hike...a big probably hahaha!!  Its about this time though that the giant blister on my left foot decides to pop, and with a loud thudding pop too.  Alls i can do is to slap a bandage over the now exposed skin and hobble the rest of the way home.

Big is still excited, though his feet are burning up, going down in flames...
  It actually hurts too much to walk on it, so i decide to jog hahaha...dunno if that was a good idea or not but i didnt feel like bringing up the rear.  Being one of the drivers, i really didnt have much choice to continue on.

After a few more twists and turns through the woods, including a [Trail Closed] sign leading us to a deadend hahaha, we finally make it back to the hostel where our shuttle car is parked.  We barely make it back before the sun turned the skies from a rich red to an ashy darkness.  The last rays of the day ducking behind the hills to the west, shadows of the trees extending the long shadows.  Another hour to pick up the cars and return to the hostel to sweep up the crew and we are heaed back to civilization.

Panorama of the sand bar along the seashore...looking Southwest
  The road here feels much longer in the darkness than it did earier in the morning...just an illusion of time and tiredness i imagine ^^ we do pass by a coyote along the road though, its tail tucked underneath as we pass by.

Upon our return to the city we stop in at our favorite local indian buffet by 19th ave and i hobble and dance around the restaurant in utter and complete pain, but happy to be filling my stomach with hot food after the grueling last leg of the hike.  After a pit stop to Walmart for some Second Skin, i manage to pop and drain all remaining blisters...and slowly and sadly call to cancel my Grand Canyon adventure for the following weekend.  Theres no way 1) my blisters will have closed up and healed by then 2) my feet will have recovered from jogging on a limp 3) i could possibly start a 4 day backpacking trip with already fresh blisters.

Panorama of the sand bar along the seashore...looking Southeast
  The ending of today is quite sad compared to the opening, but im completely in pain, and it feels great hahahaha.  My bed has never felt better as i quite literally lapse into unconciousness after thitting the sheets.

To anyone going to Estero Lakes, it is a nice stroll through the coastal forrest of Point Reyes, in contrast to the northern end of Point Reyes where it opens up more to the ocean beaches and offers greater elevation gain.  There was practically no elevation on this hike and although we ended up going 19 miles, there no reason it couldnt have been done in half the time that we took hahaha.  The mudflats along the return to the hostel were pretty cool...i enjoy the free forming patterns of natural ecosystems and environments, and the cows are a lively bunch.

Mudflats along the final stretch...
  Please Please PLEASE wear a lining underneath your wool socks, and dont take running shoes (i was in my trail runners).  Although they are great for shorter hikes, they offer far too much movement in the heels (as they should while running) and will rub far too much on the heels.  I had a total of 11 blisters that needed to be drained...no bueno ahahahaa!!  Mole skin will now permanantly be in my pack.  Take care and Enjoy!!

hirondellenhi says:
next time, bring some trunks and search for oysters! drake bay oysters is close by!
Posted on: Jan 20, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Our fearless hostess is actually 1…
Our fearless hostess is actually …
Santa Cruz...betta recognize!!!  T…
Santa Cruz...betta recognize!!! …
The crew get geared...
The crew get geared...
And so our trail begins...
And so our trail begins...
The trail opens up onto the seasho…
The trail opens up onto the seash…
These cows are really vocal when y…
These cows are really vocal when …
Beatiful California weather out on…
Beatiful California weather out o…
This is our little spot for lunch.…
This is our little spot for lunch…
Big is still excited, though his f…
Big is still excited, though his …
Panorama of the sand bar along the…
Panorama of the sand bar along th…
Panorama of the sand bar along the…
Panorama of the sand bar along th…
Mudflats along the final stretch...
Mudflats along the final stretch...
Looking across the water Westward.…
Looking across the water Westward…
Looking across the water Westward.…
Looking across the water Westward…
Looking back at our heels from whe…
Looking back at our heels from wh…
Lunch is over (^o^;) time to head …
Lunch is over (^o^;) time to head…
One last look...i should like to h…
One last look...i should like to …
Coming up around a hill after we c…
Coming up around a hill after we …
Lothar takes a moment to take a sn…
Lothar takes a moment to take a s…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore.…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore.…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore.…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore.…
Beautiful sandbar along the shore…
Mudflats along the final stretch...
Mudflats along the final stretch...
Mudflats along the final stretch..…
Mudflats along the final stretch.…
Sponsored Links
Point Reyes
photo by: David