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I suspect that I will never get tired of exploring the Point Reyes National Seashore. Each time I’m out on the coast on some trail there, I encounter people who have been hiking and wandering there for years and are still amazed at the views, the terrain, the wildlife and the sheer scope.
(I also, invariably, meet people who have lived here for a long time and are just starting to explore the area. That makes sense too. A few states ago, I lived somewhere and never explored it, and now wish I had. Carpe diem, etc., etc., etc.)
Anyway, after spending Saturday in not-so-sunny San Diego doing a mix of work and pleasure, I was eager to get some hikin’ in on Sunday.
The plan was to do about nine-plus miles of trails above and around Limantour Beach at Point Reyes. I’ve hiked on the beach before and on a couple of trails that are nearby but not this exact circuit. I don’t think. That’s yet another joy of the Point Reyes network of trails – each season, the views and memories are different so the same trail can appear to be a new experience very easily. The place also has some history to it, not just the five hundred years dating back to Sir Francis Drake’s arrival here, but several thousand years earlier to the Miwok Indian tribe too.
Well, enough glowing about the area. We started out on the very appropriately-named Sky Trail, a few miles in from the main artery, and hiked on a mix of shaded and exposed trails to a campsite not far from the Point Reyes Hostel and an environmental education center. Very muddy terrain in many parts, but at least it wasn’t sweltering hot. Clouds and fog may wreck the views, but they definitely help keep a strenuous hike from becoming unbearable. To emerge from a grove into an open view of the water, no matter how foggy or cloudy, is still one of the better moments of any hike. At lunch, a few of us headed down to the water to feel the sand and touch the ocean, or at least the bay adjacent to the ocean. The last time I was on this beach, it was a hot summer day a year ago and families were out in force with Frisbees, towels, dogs and more. This time, not so much. Just a few hardy beachgoers huddled up sheltered from the wind, but determined to enjoy the beach.
The second half of the trail, which involved stints on the Coastal and Laguna trails before re-connecting with the Sky Trail, was mostly an uphill climb. I prefer uphill hiking to downhill, due to the stress on my knees from having to take small steps downward and brace myself to keep from slipping, but I’m probably in the minority on that one. Also, having long legs gives me a big of an advantage when it comes to long, uphill stretches. Our total elevation gain was only about 1,600 feet, but the trails had enough rolling features that it was a terrific workout.