Tag: coastal

Point Reyes National Seashore: Arch Rock

Point Reyes National Seashore: Arch Rock hike review

After over two years of non-stop commuting, I finally pulled the trigger and moved to San Francisco! Most of my free time thus far has been devoted to settling into the new place and trying to establish a sense of normalcy with all of my newfound time. Seriously, I went from commuting for about 4 hours every day to a 15 minute commute, if I walk extra slowly.

The boyfriend and I are not sports people; instead we hit the trails on Super Bowl Sunday, knowing that most people would be gone. Our first trail of choice since becoming San Francisco residents? Arch Rock in Point Reyes National Seashore.

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Ebey’s Landing: Prairie Overlook to Beach

When Lee Jacobson tells you you’re going hiking, you’re going hiking. And to end 2014, hike is what we did. A motley crue of #hikerchat friends headed north to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve to catch the sunset over the Olympic Peninsula.

Jessica from You Did What With Your Wiener was kind enough to pick Tara and me up from Seattle to whisk us by ferry to meet up with Lee and Terry. The sun was shining. The mountain was out. We soaked in the spectacular weather and drank ciders as the sun sank for the last time in 2014. There’s nothing quite like walking along the beach as the last light fades behind you with good company.

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Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point

Hike: Tomales Point
Where: Point Reyes National Seashore
Trailhead: Pierce Point Ranch
Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Length: 9.4 miles out and back
Gear: Arc’teryx Delta LT, Outdoor Research Women’s Turbine Short, Outdoor Research Women’s Ignitor S/S Tee, Farm to Feet Madison socks, Ahnu Sugarpine Boots, and REI Flash 18 Pack
Cost of Parking: Free

Tomales Point in Point Reyes National Seashore is a moderate 9.4 miler out in the tippity tip of Point Reyes. The drive from the Bay Area is kind of a pain, and the weather can be unpredictable, but when you’re out there, the annoyances disappear.

Tomales Point is a little strip of land that pokes north into the Pacific Ocean on the California coastline. Flanked by two bodies of water on all sides, you’re rewarded with spectacular views. Tomales Point is also home to a subspecies of elk, tule elk, found only in California. The elk are always out and about and it is rare to have a trip where you don’t run into at least one.

This time of year the wildflowers are out blooming in full force. I highly recommend wearing long pants, lest you adore ticks, pokey branches and things of the like.

Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point Point Reyes National Seashore: Tomales Point

Russian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon

Hike: Fern Canyon to waterfall
Where: Russian Gulch State Park
Trailhead: Fern Canyon
Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours
Length: 5.8 miles out and back
Fitbit Steps: Approximately 20,000
Gear: Icebreaker Women’s Tech T Lite T-Shirt, NW Alpine Black Spider Hoody, Arcteryx Women’s Alpha SL Hybrid Jacket, REI Flash 18 Pack, Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants, and the North Face Hedgehog III GTX
Cost of Parking: $8

Russian Gulch State Park and the Fern Canyon trail have convinced me that Mendocino is some sort of magical, enchanted forest, ripe with greenery, glistening from mist, and filled with woodland creatures… and river otters.

Seriously. The boyfriend and I embarked on a little North Coast trip this past weekend, mostly thanks to AirBnB and a first-time user promotional discount. We both have never been, and I can safely say we are coming back.

Russian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon Russian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon Russian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon Russian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon

Russian Gulch was our second hike of the weekend, and I wish I did it first! The Fern Gulch trail follows the meandering creek from the trailhead to the waterfall. The trail was lush, green, surrounded by towering redwoods. Butterflies fluttered about. A river otter said hello and goodbye. If the trail didn’t exist, I would have felt like I was in Jurassic Park.

It’s about a 2.5 mile hike to the 36-foot falls with 200 feet of elevation gain. We followed this trail out about 1.9 miles where it splits off. 0.7 miles to the left takes you straight to the waterfall, or you can take the right path which adds an extra 2.5 miles to your trip and completes the waterfall loop. We chose the former due to time constraints.

Russian Gulch State Park: Fern CanyonRussian Gulch State Park: Fern CanyonRussian Gulch State Park: Fern Canyon

I will definitely be back to explore more of this forested wonderland! It was an incredibly quiet weekend when we went; we didn’t see many people on the trail, but the park gets packed in the summer when it starts to heat up. Hike here in the rain to experience the full, lush beauty.

Ventana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat

Hike: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat
Where: Ventana Wilderness
Trailhead: Kirk Creek off of Highway 1
Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 days and 2 nights
Length: Approximately 20~ miles out and back
Cost of Parking: Free on the side of Highway 1

Fun fact: I’ve never really hiked in Big Sur until this holiday break. I got the chance to tackle Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Cone Peak! Not all in one day though.

Peakbagging in the Santa Lucia Mountains is something that has been on my to do list for a while, but I’ve been putting it off with trips to bag peaks in the Sierra Nevadas instead. With a few days off before 2014, what better way to ring in the new year than traversing across mountains?

I originally planned to start this hike at Limekiln State Park and taking the Stone Ridge Trail to Vicente Flat, but couldn’t park my car at Limekiln. Ended up starting at Kirk Creek, which knocked a few miles off the adventure.

It has been unusually dry this winter, so I was a little worried about water sources along the trail. However, the creeks are flowing above Espinosa Camp (2.6 miles in) and above Vicente Flat (5 miles in). The hike in to Vicente Flat starts with switchbacks ascending above a breathtaking view of the coastline. It then descends into second growth redwoods where the campsites are located.

From there, I took Vicente Flat up to Coast Ridge Road. The majority of this section of Vicente Flat follows a gorgeous creek, and then makes way for spectacular views of Cone Peak. Coast Ridge Road is currently open for motorized vehicles, so Cone Peak was a little busier than usual. Cone Peak was amazing with views of the coastline and Ventana Wilderness.

I then retraced steps back to Vicente Flat for another night, then back to the trailhead.

Ventana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat