Thursday – April 4, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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:
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