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, 5 June 2016. A 25-mile loop in the Marin Headlands, and a little more.
DD’s latest obsession has been exploring the intersection of hiking and ultra-running, for which lines definitely begin to blur as distances become longer. To that end, he’s been training and speculating on how he might be able to complete a 50-mile race while primarily hiking (since mosthumans do hike the uphills during races) and jogging/ running the downhills and flats.
7 May 2016. 22.92 miles, with a nice stop at PRNSA’s Fireside Chat.
Another weekend, and another long hike. At the house, we’ve gotten into some sort of cadence with each other’s schedules, which means DD almost always schedules a long hike on Saturday, and I’ve been alternating my long run-weekends with joining along on those long training hikes every other Saturday.
He was fresh from the exhiliration of a successful and relatively pain-free Skyline-to-the-Sea 27-mile day-long, thru-hike with Justin the prior weekend, and was looking to extend his collection of 20-plus milers.
Our 24-mile path would have us launching from Palomarin, at the popular trailhead for the hike to Alamere Falls, then heading north on the Coast Trail until we reached Limantour Spit Road. There, if our timing was just right, we’d be able to take a detour to the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center, where the Point Reyes National Seashore Association was having their annual Fireside Chat for some of their members. From Limantour, depending on how we were feeling, we’d take Muddy Hollow to Estero Trail, and end up back at a parked car at the Drake’s Estero.
23 April 2016. 14.62 miles, including ascending the Hobbs Road Short Cut.
The trip started out a bit inauspiciously, as I had zoned out and missed the E. Dunne exit from 101 South. DD rerouted us back through Gilroy on some surface streets, and my detour ended up delaying our start by only about 10 minutes.
Henry Coe is out in Morgan Hill, and driving to it from the freeway exit requires an extra 13-mile slow slither along a narrow and windy road that snakes through a residential area and then past Anderson Lake Park, climbing, climbing, hair-pinning up to the top, where E. Dunne dead-ends right into the Henry Coe Visitor Center.
The trek we were planning had a reputation for difficulty, most especially a segment of the trail called the “Shortcut,” which apparently, is a very steeply graded slope covering 1500 feet in about 1.5 miles. DD had prepared me for it by saying it was “like the Warmup and Big Burn on Ohlone.” And so, by reading through a couple of other blog posts and trip reports, I felt mentally prepared. I carried with me mostly water weight – about 4 litres total, including one Nalgene of electrolyte drink, which I mixed up before we left. Continue reading →
2 April, 2016. 13.2 to 13.67 miles, depending on which tracker you believe.
One of the hikes we’ve had on the list was a fairly lengthy one on Mt. Diablo. We projected that we’d need to do this hike soon, in the Spring, before it got unbearably hot. I had run Brazen’s Mt. Diablo Half Marathon almost around the same time the year before, and found that I got really lucky with the weather, where it was only in the mid-70s by the time I finished. This hike’s forecast turned out similarly, relatively mild, where the highest temps forecast were also in the mid 70s.
We took as our guide Alice Hikes’ most excellent account. I was torn between wanting to spend time with puppy, errands, keeping up with my running — fitting in a long run during the week — and other assorted house stuff before my DC trip, but finally decided that I wanted to go with the group.
Eighteen Miles. Eighteen Miles! I should have figured it out on my own, when DD said that we’d be thru-hiking 28 miles, and completing only 10 in the first day. But I was stunned and demoralized on Day 1 and couldn’t comprehend another day that was longer and possibly as difficult as the first. I’ve run 18 miles in the past, but on relatively flat terrain or in San Francisco where hills were not as prolonged or steep, and certainly not while carrying a full 20+ pound backpack.
DD assured me that today’s route would be easier, that the inclines were not as steep, and there might be points on the trail (such as the Sunol Visitor Center, 10 miles in) where we could cut it short, if we really were exhausted. That cheered me up a bit.
It had been a while since DD and I did a proper backpacking trip. It was my first since the West Coast Trail last year; Danny’s first since his solo Yosemite hike.
However, Danny had already hiked a segment of this path earlier in the year, the 12-mile out-and-back to Murietta Falls with Jared and Justin, the one with ~4000 in elevation gain just in 6 miles. This was the hike that tweaked his back again and made him realize that in order for him to hike the John Muir Trail this summer, he had better start taking care of his body properly stat.
I didn’t go along on that hike and stated at the time that I wished I did. At the time, and up until I actually stepped foot on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, I had absolutely *no* idea of what I was asking for.
Two weekends after our Rae Lakes excursion and no hiking, DD definitely wanted to head out for a trek. His goal was to do a 16-17 mile training hike and he found us a route in Point Reyes. He mentioned it would be good practice for the West Coast Trail, as we’d do some beach walking. I was a little apprehensive about the distance, and worried about leaving Harlow alone for such a long time (I estimated we’d take 6-8 hours, at least).
Another weekend brought another training hike, and this time Danny chose a spot closer to San Francisco on the Peninsula. The trail he had planned had several ups and downs and some 2300 feet in elevation.
So it is looking like this is the year of the back-country thru-hike. In April over an extended weekend, Danny, accompanied by Jared and Jesse, hiked the Lost Coast Trail – a point-o-point course along the beach in Humboldt County – Danny’s first-ever backcountry backpacking trip.
And so the fire was lit. I’m now accompanying him on my first-ever backpacking trip in a couple of weeks – the popular Rae Lakes Loop that traverses Kings Canyon/ Sequoia National Park. Running/ hiking trails is one thing, but hiking a thru-hike, with significant elevation and carrying gear of 20-35 lbs on one’s back is another.