Saturday, August 17, 2013

Camping and hiking in the redwoods

Camping in the redwoods (in the walk-in part of Butano State Park campground)
We've been trying to shake up our routine, do things we don't ordinarily do, try new things, and generally get out more. To this end, we headed out for a one-night camping trip to Butano State Park near Pescadero CA. 

Magnificent stump, a legacy of redwood logging
We had snagged a reservation in the walk-in part of the campground earlier in the week. It turned out that our site was about 150 feet from the car, so not very much walking in was required! (Other sites in the walk-in area were farther from parking, however).

Amazing bark on a redwood tree stump
The park is quite pleasant and the campsites are in a redwood strand: shaded, peaceful and quiet, with only about half the hike-in sites occupied on the Sunday night that we were there. We rested, took a short hike in the park, and I did a mountain bike ride up a fire road in the park. 

Hiking on the Mill Ox Trail in Butano State Park
Hike: 3.5 mile hike in Butano, 4.5 the next day at Ano Nuevo State Park (elephant seals!). Dan did amazingly well on the hiking, the longest walks he's done since he hurt himself in a bike crash
Mountain bike: a few miles up a fire road (steeper than I had anticipated!)
Eating: goat cheese from Harley goats, and yummies from the bakery in Pescadero
R&R: lots, a well-needed break from our routine. We returned Monday afternoon feeling like we had been away for much longer than 2 days. Yeah!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hiking on Angel Island

Golden Gate Bridge view from Livermore Peak on Angel Island
Yesterday, Dan and I headed out to Angel Island to do some hiking.

Views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from the Angel Island Ferry
I've lived in the Bay area for quite a while, but my first trip to the Island was just two weeks ago-- by sailboat(!). This time, we took the ferry from San Francisco. No problem at all getting a ticket on the 9:45 ferry even on a tourist-busy summer day.

Hiking through oak forest on the North Ridge trail 
We arrived in Ayala cove and headed up on the North Ridge trail. Our goal: Mt Livermore, the highest point in the Island. The trail starts with a flight of steep steps, but then winds up through oak forests with a gentle grade. Soon, you are rewarded with wonderful views.

View of Ayala Cover from the North Ridge trail on Angel Island

I love oak trees
Tiburon and Mt Tam
San Francisco and Bay Bridge view from the North Ridge trail
After a while, you pop out onto the ridge and here the views become really amazing. 

Gust of fog obscures San Francisco view
The marine layer (i.e., fog) burned off at around 11, but big puffy gusts of fog blew by every now and then over the bay between Angel Island and SF. It was really neat.

Hiking on the Sunset trail on Angel Island
After lunching at the summit (Golden Gate view shown in the top photo), we headed back down on the Sunset trail, which winds gently down the south and west sides of the Island. The photos here were a bit out of focus, but you get the idea. 

Angel Island hike on North Ridge and Sunset Trails
After the hike, we hung out at the Angel Island canteen and had a beer and two extremely small tacos. Then, we lay on the lawn for a while, unable to muster the energy to go to the Immigration Museum as we had planned. Then, onto the ferry and back to SF. What a fun day!

Distance: ~5.8 miles
Elevation: Mt Livermore is ~788 feet
Notes: Angel Island has a ton of visitors, but most appear to stay near Ayala Cove and the visitor facilities (museum, ruins) or on the fireroad. The trails certainly had plenty of hikers, but more like a Marin Headlands level of use rather than the crowds that I had expected. In particular, the Sunset trail was pretty low traffic.