(Fast-forward to the GOOD photos from my accomapanying photographer: Shutterfly Photos)
Two weekends ago, I went on my first grownup hike in a long, long time.
My friend S. has been a mentor to me for many years now for camping and hiking and outdoors things. So when she told me she'd bought a new book with lots of great hikes in the area and we should plan one together sometime, I said absolutely! It took all summer, but we found a Sunday that would work, and planned it weeks ahead.
Turns out, this excursion would involve cheese. In the tiny town Pt. Reyes Station, there is a funky little grocery in a barn, that has a cheesery and a very attractive selection of locally made cheese. Had we been at Whole Foods, I'd have bristled at the price, but this was authentic!
After securing ourselves the required fermented dairy products for lunch, we found a great spot for a self-time photo to document the goofy absurdity of our mutual choices for outerwear that day.
And then it was time to hike!
This hike really deserved its rank in a book of Top 100 Hikes in the Bay Area, given its fantastic diversity of views and places.
Unexpectedly, we came across some "pre-falls" -- that is, waterfalls that feed into the destination falls. Just these deserved plenty of airtime (and photographic talent, which I outsourced to S.), and we hadn't even gotten to the good stuff....
A little scramble down some quasi-stable cliffs, and there we were on the beach, in full view of the attraction falls -- perhaps at a low point this time of year, but nonetheless spectacular for desert-y California.
And there is never anything less than spectacular or glorious about being on a beach in a National Park. Though this was S's 6th National Park of the year, she too was no less in awe.
We did a little climbing and scrambling to explore the beach, while I scare-talked stories of people getting swept away by rogue waves -- this would be the place! But we noticed the tide going out, and concluded our risk of getting trapped or washed away by tides was low.
We found a scenic spot for lunch.
And did a little more beach exploration afterward, during which time the sun graced us by burning through the fog. S.took this as a great photographic opportunity; me and my inadequate little point-and-shoot just had to cope.
Normally hikers, oddly in sync with motorcyclists, bristle at the idea of having to backtrack, but there was nothing lost at all in this hike by backtracking. It looked and felt completely different coming the other way, and the weather had changed enough that it really was a truly different experience.
This was one landmark we made sure to notice in both directions, however. S's photos are far better, but this isn't just about art, it's about reminding ourselves about boundaries, a topic we had license to yak about unfettered for hours. And what a lovely one this is.
Ladies, don't forget: boundaries.
From there, we drove to Mountain View on the Peninsula, drastically underestimating the time it would take to drove on Hwy 1 to the Golden Gate Bridge, then the traffic on Sunday evenings into San Francisco on said bridge. For some idiotic reason, I checked FaceBook, and not only didn't receive the foolish validation I couldn't have imagined to receive, but worse, saw some confirmation of some very painful, personal revelations.
Fortunately for me, my friend with the wounded ankle was there to pick me up (what a pair WE are!!!) and we had a nice dinner in a trendy downtown Mt View restaurant -- barefoot and purple-pedicured and all. (Well, what else are you supposed to do with an injured ankle?!)
A few cocktails (much needed!) and some yummy tapas later, and civilization had returned.
A far superior set of photos than I could ever hope to capture: Alamere Falls Hike
And as always a better written description as well: Girls Day Out. That's what happens when you travel with a writer.
We're both in a bittersweet stage of life, strangely similar but with drastic differences, but were brought together by basic enjoyment of the beautiful outdoors and the escape and respite it provides from our painful realities. We agreed this was a great way to spend the day, setbacks and all (S. really hurt her ankle for instance, owch), but we will most definitely have to pursue lovely hikes and fantastic cheese again!