Monday, March 14, 2011

Carson Falls

Saturday we decided to hike to Carson Falls. The hike to the falls started out on an Pine Mountain Road, an old fire road, which gave beautiful views of Marin County, the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, and Mt. Diablo in the distance. About a mile up we turned onto Oat Hill road, and headed west, and eventually met the trail down to the falls. Once on the trail, we were in the trees, and heading steadily down hill on switchbacks. It's about a mile down hill to the falls, and it is well worth the trip, especially this time of year. The falls were running, and a docent was at the falls, showing people the yellow legged frog, a "species of special interest"

We spent about 30 min. at the falls, having our lunch and chatting with the docent, before continuing on down into the valley. This was a steep downhill, in the woods, following the creek that is fed by the falls. For each step I took down hill, I knew there was an equal step to climb back up out of this valley. once at the bottom, we were back on a fire road, The Kent Pump Road, which was fairly level, till we connected to the Old Vine Road. This is where the uphill portion of our hike started. We gained about 1100 feet in about 2 miles, which in my book is a Huffer Puffer!

The falls were beautiful, the hike down into the canyon was spectacular, if you like to hike through redwoods, next to beautiful creeks. Unfortunately my camera was in the pack, and the pack was about 100 ft ahead of me at all times, so I didn't get any photos other than at the falls. You'll just have to do this hike to see how beautiful it really is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tea on Mt. Tam

Saturday March 5th, we hiked the old rail road grade to West Point Inn on Mt. Tamalpias.

We started our hike at Mountain Home, off panoramic highway. While there are other ways to go, we started with Hogback, which is the fire road that connects to the railroad grade. This was a half mile of very steep grade. On a huffer-puffer scale I give it a 9, even though younger and more fit people were whizzing right past me.

Once I managed to climb, gasping, to the railroad grade, and catch my breath, the rest of the way up was easy pretty easy going.

The views were spectacular, even though it was a bit of an overcast day. the uphill climb wasn't steep, and once you get to West Point Inn you are rewarded with a beautiful spot to have your lunch, and inside the old inn you can get hot water for tea, or coffee, snack bars, etc.

From the Inn you can see Angel Island, Mt. Diablo, the peaks of the golden Gate Bridge, the pacific ocean, and on a clear day the farrallone islands.

We spent about 30 min at the Inn, talking to the Docent, having our lunch at the Picnic tables and enjoying the lovely views.

On the return we took the trails back as opposed to the railroad grade. While the railroad grade was great, we had to share with mountain bikers. I can certainly understand why they love it there, the grade is gentle, the trail is wide, the views are fabulous, and there are lots of twists and turns. They didn't call it the crookedest Railroad in the world for nothing. The trails had the advantage of going pastwater falls, over bridges, and through redwood trees, and we didn't have to worry about mountain bikers whizzing past us.

Eventually the trail connected back on the old railroad grade, and returned back to Mountain Home Inn

Mountain Home Inn has a lovely deck out back with spectacular views of Mill valley, so naturally we had to take advantage and have our usual end of hike adult Beverage.

This is a beautiful hike, and if you haven't done it yet, get yourself up off the couch and to Mt. Tamalpias!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brush Creek

We took a short hike in Brush Creek on Feb 28. I tried to find information on the Web about Brush Creek, with no luck. I don't think Brush Creek is it's official name. I can find the place we hiked on goggle maps, if I start searching in that area, but even on goggle maps it's not called Brush Creek. In any case, for the sake of this post we will call the wetlands off Atherton avenue Brush Creek. If you're heading north on 101, look to the East just past the Atherton Ave. exit, you'll see the wetlands off in the distance.

The weather was lovely, and the hike turned out to be very nice. But I have yet to meet a hike I didn't like.

At first we were on a dirt road behind a housing development, so I was concerned it might not be a pretty hike, but once we got past the houses, things got very pretty.

As you follow the trail around, you start through chapparal, and eventually walk right near the waters edge. There are ducks and egrets and heron's fishing, and it was very pretty. The hike was easy, there was only one butt-burner and that was a pretty short section. We hiked a little over 4 miles, which is actually less than I like to do. I have a self-imposed rule that I need to do a minimum of 5 mi. when I go out for a hike. Actually I don't think I would even call this a hike, I think it was more of a long walk.

This is a lovely, easy hike, and I'll give it a 3 (easy hike) and a 6 on the pretty scale. the first part of the hike is near the airport, and not too far from the highway so there are the distracting sounds of civilization .

Once you make the turn and are heading east, you get more of a feeling of being out in the wilderness, but if you look closely you can see Lakeville highway and radio towers in the distance. Still it's pretty, close in, and nice 4 mi. loop.

There weren't many gnarley trees, but there was this spot where the trees had grown over the trail.

After the hike there was Yarn shopping, Academy awards, Beer, Wine, Champagne, and Chinese take out, so any benefit I got from the walk got canceled out, but that happens almost every time we go on a hike.

Next up: Tea on Mt. Tam!