Saturday, 18 June 2016.Marin Headlands (25-mile) Loop Counter-Clockwise
This jaunt marked the 4th time DD’s traversed this trail, and my 2nd (account of my 1st here). The challenge – start at 2pm and finish after dark (~10pm), and do the loop in the opposite, counter-clockwise direction. Our plan:
Sunday, 22 May, 2016. Jay Camp/ Big Basin HQ to Waddell Beach. 10.2 miles.
I woke again to the sounds of birds, trilling at first light, and occasional loud insect buzzing. A woodpecker also made its presence known. Mosquitoes were still out at this hour, though thankfully not as much as the evening prior.
Breakfast (Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon is not as good as Mountain House Breakfast Skillet), camp breakdown, a last scouring of the area to make sure we are LNT, and we were off. Hooray for warm water coming out of the taps in the bathrooms!
Big Basin, even at 10am on a Sunday morning, was already crowded with a goodly number of visitors. As we set off from HQ, we passed numerous groups who looked like they were on their own walkabouts, and some who appeared to be headed to Berry Creek Falls.
Unlike the day before, it was a little sunny in certain sections, but the tree cover provided a great canopy and shade so it never really got too warm. The trail thinned out in sections and began to get crowded again as we neared the Falls.
Saturday, 21 May, 2016. Waterman Gap to Big Basin HQ and Jay Camp. 9.84 miles
I woke and dozed intermittently with sunrise, the sounds of the birds, the various creakings and sighings of a camp coming to life. In the night I had also occasionally woken to the sounds of rain pitter-pattering on our tent. The drizzle would last barely a minute before stopping. This would be the pattern for the morning as we made our way to Big Basin headquarters.
We were the last ones out of the camp. We finally emerged from our tents relatively late, ~ 7am, but we were taking our time to be able to wait for Caiti. She arrived ~9:45, and had clearly hustled to get to where we were. She had arrived late last night at Castle Rock parking lot and ended up hiking in the dark. That didn’t bother her so much as a sketchy guy in the parking lot who had put wings to her heels and helped power her to Castle Rock trail camp 2 miles away.
The Porch is where we ended up for a post-CIM brunch. DD and I were able to leave our car at the Hyatt since we had already paid the $17 day-fee – our day lasted until 4pm. Carlos had kindly researched places on Yelp when I mentioned that I was in the mood for Fried Chicken after my marathon.
So we walked a couple of blocks. I felt fine, the legs a little achy, my body a little sore. Finally we saw the rectangular, low-slung building, gleaming white in the sun, with a true-to-its name porch for al fresco dining.
Yes, that photo above is a Punchbowl, full of Bloody Mary goodness, served ever-so-quaintly in little glass cups, so you can sip your drink genteely as you ponder whether to order the shrimp-and-grits or chicken and waffles. Tart and a bit spicy, the Bloody Marys hit the spot. I think the mix was, on the whole, a tad lighter on the alcohol, which was just fine by me. Continue reading →
This will no doubt be just another of the hundreds of blogposts that will be filed about this day, but I need to get this down since:
CIM 2012 was my first-ever marathon.
2012 will be remembered as the year of the epic rainstorm.
Warning. This is waaay too long for to be of interest to anyone except myself, really, but – for what it’s worth…
On Friday, though I was still checking the weather every couple of hours, hoping beyond hope for some change, I was pretty much resigned. Yes folks, all indicators pointed to a deluge of not-insignificant proportions in the beginning, middle and most likely by the end of the marathon.
So that was that. My goal – of finishing anywhere from 4-4:15 — did not change drastically because of it. I figured that I’d start running, and adjust goals from there. Having never run a marathon before, and certainly, having never run long in pouring rain before, left lots of things up in the air. I kept telling myself that ultimately, the true goal was to finish, and finish strong. A good time would be icing on the cake. Also, beating Oprah would be icing on the cake. 🙂 Continue reading →
One of my favourite restaurants in town, I’ve been going to Blue Plate since it opened in 1999 and began serving its wonderful, hearty neo-American fare with plays on old classics like Meatloaf and Fried Chicken. Today, it can still pack in a crowd, so that last-minute reservations on a Friday night yielded only a 9:15 opening, but we were able to get seated around 9 or so by arriving around 8:45 and waiting for a couple of the counter seats.
Ok, I’ll admit it, Wakuriya only hit our radar after it received its first Michelin star. I have a horrible fault of usually turning a blind eye (with a few exceptions) to anything south of San Francisco, preferring to focus on wine country or Oakland/ Berkeley instead. DD had tried to get reservations before, but had called too late for a birthday dinner.
We wish we had gotten to Wakuriya sooner. I’d go every month if we could.
flour+water had been popular right out of the gate, spurred by a buzz going even before it opened – with Chef Thomas McNaughton boasting a resume listing La Folie, Quince and Gary Danko; a number of stages at Michelin-starred establishments in Europe, including an artisinal pasta apprenticeship: “…basically Tom and a bunch of old ladies with rolling pins…” according to David White, one of the partners at f+w.
DD and I have been jonesing to go back to flour+water but trying to get a decent online reservation in advance lately has been quite difficult. On 98% of my attempts, I’ve usually encountered nothing earlier before 10pm. Once in a while, if I looked out far enough, I’d spot a listing for 9:15 or 9:30pm. For a Tuesday or Wednesday. Sheesh! They opened in May of 2009, and 2 months thereafter garnered 3 stars from The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. Accolades followed from the other local food press, and soon there was even a blurb in the New York Times. The restaurant purportedly holds back 1/2 of their seats for walk-ins, but we’ve been hesitant to try this tactic, not being from the immediate neighbourhood.
Saison’s website proclaims that there is no dress code, and urges folks to “come as you are.” While the food is elevated, there’s a nice dichotomy between the white-tablecloth cuisine and the service and warmth of the staff. We had finally made it – after a couple of years and one pop-up when Chef Skenes was away.
How to describe Saison with words of praise that have already been said in a style far better than mine? DD and I had a wonderful meal here, full of beautiful and delicious moments. Sometimes, it might be better to just let the food speak for itself.