It's both cool and ridiculous (mostly ridiculous) to get a 2-page receipt for "Backcountry Camping" from the federal government, especially when it arrives after I have already come home from said backcountry camping and merely recites a bunch of notificatory gobbledegook the website and the park ranger already told me when I reserved the campsite.
Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday, "San Francisco was brilliantly sunny, diamond-clear, cool, and green." Or in this case, blue. That's a quote from Julia Childs' biography My Life in France. She wrote that recalling her visit to San Francisco promoting her magnum opus Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I intone that line whenever we have clear skies.
I parked my car at the Bear Valley Visitor Center and humped my pack up to Sky Camp (from sea level to 1000' elevation) by way on Meadow Trail, which sounded less strenuous to me than Mount Wittenberg Trail (no "Mount" in "Meadow", right?). Since I hiked down from Sky Camp on Mount Wittenberg Trail this morning, perhaps I can say that Meadow Trail is in fact be less strenuous than Mount Wittenberg, but it's matter of fine degrees. I was sweatin' my ass off by the time I reached the meadow.
Point Reyes is geologically and ecologically fascinating. The whole land mass broke off from the southern coast and moved north millions of years ago along the San Andreas Fault when the continents were in different places, bringing with it a different bedrock and soil type parent material than what is otherwise found in this part of California. The whole peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than all the rest of California. This epicenter of the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906 is now a trail near the visitor center. We visited it once on the old blog and I showed you how it broke a fenceline, moving it several feet, but I cannot seem to locate that post now, so nevermind. Ahem.
Point Reyes' dominant megaflora is Doug Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Bishop Pine (Pinus muricata). You find the Doug fir on the east- and north-facing slopes and Bishop Pine on west and south. The zonation can be quite dramatic in places. Literally, one tree type starts in a line and the other begins. I tend to appreciate the microfauna a bit more.
I'm sorry this picture is blurry. I'm sorry all of these pictures came from my iPhone. My camera batteries died as soon as I got started, and there is noone but me to blame for not having replacement batteries. As a blogger who relies as heavily on pictures as this one does, I feel downright amateurish. Well, I can't stand professional blogs anyway. So fuck it. Noone ever swears on professional blogs. Fuck, fuck, fuck!!! Love it, or leave it baby.
As I made my progress to Sky Camp, mixed-oak woodland gave way to meadow (above) gave way to Bishop Pine forest,
and epic views.
I set up camp and headed to the beach.
Woodward Valley trail to the coast was epic.
And I think if you go soon, you will see epic blooms of Doug Iris on Coast trail. It was just starting to happen yesterday.
I don't mind telling you I got a little over-exuberant and ventured beyond what I was provisioned for on this trip, specifically with regard to water. That is to say, I was six miles out from camp (downhill) when I ran out of it. I could tell I was getting a little dehydrated. In my desperation, I plucked an unusually large clump of Claytonia perfoliata right out of the ground and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. It was quite literally the sweetiest, juiciest, creamiest, crunchiest thing I have ever eaten.
If you think running out of batteries is amateurish, try running out of water. Shameful. Don't ever do it.
Tired and thirsty, I hiked back to camp. I timed it from the bottom of Sky Trail. And now I know. I can hike 4.1 miles, mostly uphill, in exactly 1.5 hours.
At Sculpture Beach, two hikers warned me off the trail claiming to have seen "very large" cat prints. Should I have heeded their warning? I would have liked to have seen Sculptured Beach again. Ah, what might have been. Doesn't a tiny bit of that coulda-shoulda-woulda add something unique to a vacation experience? The path not taken is left behind, with a standing invitation to take it next time.
I had dinner back at camp
And as I was drifting off to sleep, I had two thoughts for what I would like to have if I could have anything in the world, in this order: 1) A bit of satellite reception so I could call Guy to say goodnight, and 2) beer. Specifically Lagunitas' Cap Stout.