My own personal Heaven: Mt. Tamalpais

Thursday – April 4, 2013

View from Hogback Fire Road

View from Hogback Fire Road

I headed out my door yesterday morning under gloomy, overcast Alameda/East Bay skies. After my requisite stops for coffee & gas I had little optimism that I’d see any sunshine at any time during my hike. Sometimes, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps me from overheating on some of the steeper trails. This year’s Mt. Whitney trip is just over three months away and I need to become more intent on my intensity levels. This means that soon I’ll be leaving the camera behind occasionally. So as I drove across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, it was still overcast and this persisted through Mill Valley. It wasn’t until I reached the Muir Woods/Panoramic Highway intersection that I finally emerged into soft sunlight above the clouds and fog.

View #2 (color)

View #2 (color)

On tap for the day’s hike was a trip to the East Peak via the Hogback and Old Railroad Grade fire roads, then the hard one-mile climb up the Fern Creek trail. This is the trail that I used as my severest Mt. Whitney training in 2010 (my 1st successful summit) and again last year (my 2nd summit). Each of those years I declared myself Whitney-ready when I was able to do the 1 mile climb (about 1,000′ of elevation gain) three successive times with minimal rest in between. Yesterday, however, I was in semi-wimp mode and planned on just one trip up, then a long loop around to West Point Inn, Bootjack picnic area, Van Wyck Meadow and then back to Mountain Home Inn (about 10 miles). As always, I was treated to wonderful views, none more spectacular than the opening image of this entry. I was burning out my legs up Hogback Fire Road when I stopped for water, turned around and looked south at the treetops peeking through the marine layer with Sutro Tower in the distance. I snapped about a dozen different shots then continued towards the summit.

Indian Paintbrush on the Matt Davis trail

Indian Paintbrush on the Matt Davis trail

Hillside & sky

Hillside & sky

Along the Matt Davis Trail heading toward Bootjack after my trip to the summit and a short lunch break at West Point Inn, I came across wild irises in bloom and the ever abundant indian paintbrush growing among the chamise and manzanita. I re-entered the redwoods of Muir Woods on the south side of Panoramic Highway as I continued toward Van Wyck Meadow where I lounged on a boulder, ate some fruit and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

On my previous Mt. Tam visit three weeks ago, I did my favorite hike, the Matt Davis, Dipsea, Steep Ravine triangle. (Ok, it’s not quite a triangle…too many curves and turns…it’s not a dodecahedron, either). I’ll just call it a loop. I also call it the one hike I’d do if I only had one hike left in me (aside from Mt. Whitney, of course). Here are some photos from that hike:

Matt Davis Trail between Pan Toll & Stinson Beach

Matt Davis Trail between Pan Toll & Stinson Beach

Hound's tongue (Matt Davis Trail)

Hound’s tongue (Matt Davis Trail)

Lupines (Dipsea Trail)

Lupines (Dipsea Trail)

Matt Davis Trail above Stinson Beach

Matt Davis Trail above Stinson Beach

Here’s a link to a recent article I wrote about this hike for examiner.com:                                                                 http://www.examiner.com/article/heaven-on-mt-tamalpais-trails-the-matt-davis-steep-ravine-dipsea-loop

And finally, here’s a link to my brand new website:                     http://www.voltaphoto.com

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About victorvolta

I am a freelance photographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the very suburban city of Santa Clara. Education: San Jose State University (class of '84) BA degree in Journalism with concentrations in Photojournalism and English. Favorite Foods: Ribeye steaks and Stan's Doughnuts (separate plates, usually). Favorite Drinks: Strong gourmet coffee and Trader Joe's Blood Orange Italian Soda (separate cups).
This entry was posted in Local Hikes, Miscellaneous, Mt. Tamalpais, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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