Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trail Running in the Marin Headlands: A Fastpacking Adventure from San Francisco to Point Reyes - Part 4

For my final day at Point Reyes, I awoke to a perfect calm beautiful morning. The wind had disappeared and everything was quiet (except for the sounds of 12 high school girls getting ready in the morning!). I decided on Drakes Head as a destination, via Estero Trail. And just for something completely different, I walked! It was about 7.5 miles to the head and from the beginning, it really was a National Geographic kind of day. We awoke to frost and when the sun hit the frost, the place really came to life! I was really taking pleasure in the walking and observing all of the little things around me.

When the sun hit the frost, the birds became solar powered. I barely recognized any of the birdsongs, they were all new and different than in my back yard! I saw some rabbits feeding on some newly emerged greens and shortly after, I ran right into a Bobcat on the trail. He had the proper reaction when he saw me, which was to turn and run down the trail before disappearing into the thick brush. I suspect he was after the Easter Bunnies. After that I came across something that looked suspiciously like ELK SHIT, but I thought it must be something else. Sheep? Goat? What the hell kind of scat is that? I was super surprised when I heard a whole bunch of noise in the woods and sure enough, there was a small herd of elk. I hadn't realized that there were elk in Point Reyes! Who knew?

My walk took me to Drakes Estero, a beautiful inland backwash of coastal water, with a crazy amount of bird life. For all of you bird nerds out there, Point Reyes is paradise for bird watching. It would be an easy place to spend many days observing, looking and watching. In the Estero, I got to see lots of the tall, long-legged, fisherman variety of birds - you know, cranes and herons. The scenery was completely different in this corner of the park, a little more barren and rolling. It actually looked like Southern Alberta ranch country! My reward was the view at Drakes Head.

..... and the cream cheese and Toblerone bagel that I had for lunch - yeeeeah! I also had a small bag of Doritos that the kids had given me. I was truly, totally completely in heaven.
The views in all directions were so gorgeous and fortunately, the wind was quite calm. There all sorts of raptors cruising the coastal air above me - Red Tailed Hawks, Vultures, Kites, Sparrowhawks and I caught a glimpse of a hungry Peregrine, fishing in the shallow waters below. The big excitement was in the shallow water below. I saw big sharks and massive manta rays, later I was told they were probably Tiger Sharks and Bat Rays. My day just kept getting better and better.


I walked home the entire 7.5 miles and it was good to stretch out the legs and use my walking muscles. On the way I saw 2 more herds of elk! Later, I learned the story of the Tule Elk in Point Reyes. Now that the sun had heated up the day, the Garter Snakes were out in full force. The first one I saw scared me, but by the end of the day I was trying to catch them. I did get bit by one of the little buggers, serves me right for messing with the wildlife. The 15 miles took me all day and I even got a nap in a sunbeam.

That evening, was blissfully relaxing at the hostel. The teachers and kiddies had left me, but not without leaving me some leftovers!! I ate well that night. Over the few days I was there, I enjoyed some great company in the hostel staff of Laith and Hannah. These girls are really good at what they do and just downright cool people. The environmentally conscientious hostel even had a "self-propelled" discount. My dorm bed cost me $20.00 and I got a free towel to use! How cool is that?

I relaxed away my final evening and enjoyed a long luxurious shower, but I was already thinking about my "big run" the next day. I looked more closely at my map and calculated it to be about 37 miles back to the Headlands. I was excited. I was motivated. I was feeling great!

***Extra note: Yes, I realize this is the "post that keeps on giving" but bear with me folks! One more installment to go and it's a wrap. Hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed writing.***

18 comments:

JohnF said...

Wow! Looks like an excellent adventure.

Mike said...

I'm finally starting to understand this whole "Snowbird" thing. Here I am riding to work through a pile of frozen slush & snow and there are actually people running around on green grassy trails with real life flowers and animals that aren't all in hibernation.
Oh well, another 3 or 4 months and it will look like that here too...

goSonja said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series of posts. What an adventure you had!

elizabeth said...

I hear you Mike, I'm so sick of the slush and snow. We got another 3 inches of the crappy wet stuff last night. Spring is my least favorite time of the year in MT. I actually ran on pavement yesterday. So boring and tough on the feet!

Leslie, I'm loving your fastpacking Point Reyes trail reports and photos! Can't wait for the Austrailia reports! But your Banff reports are always great too. Thanks!

How did you like your Camelbak on the Point Reyes trip? What version camelbak did you use? I'm looking for a bigger size pack than the everyday Ultimate Direction I have and love, but its too small for a mulitple day trip.

Backofpack said...

Keep 'em coming Leslie - they are perfect!

What is a Toberlone bagel? I've never heard of it and it makes me think of the chocolate bar.

Sunshine Girl said...

Hi John! and welcome! It was Leslie's Excellent Adventure.

Wasn't that a crazy morning Mike? That's the joy of being a bike commuter in Banff, dood. I have become quite dependent on my "March Escape" the past few winters. That's the magic month for me when I soooo appreciate a little escape. Yes, it's totally another world out there, especially when compared to our frozen corner of the world. I think that's why it's been such a looooong post, I enjoyed every blade of grass and it was sensory overload.

On an local note, we should try and head out to Minnewanka shoreline soon!

Hi Sonya and Elizabeth,
I'm glad you've been enjoying.

My monster Camelback is a few years old and is called the Rim Runner. It's for Sonya, who is going to run the Grand Canyon! It's big, but light. It's for my longer trips, hotter trips and has a whopper of a 3L bladder! For me, the single most important in a pack is an accessible side pocket for my bear spray. Not everyone can say that! Make sure to try on your potential new pack.

Hi Michelle!

The bagel is my own creation. A big squishy multigrain bagel, thick cream cheese and toblerone triangles, preferably the fruit and nut variety! mmmmmmmmm....

elizabeth said...

Thanks Leslie!

I'm going to check out the Rim Runner. I'm having a hard time finding a pack that size that fits me right. Have you ever had to use your bear spray?

I think you normally wear a Salomon pack for your shorter runs? Do you like it a lot? What version of the Salomon hydration pack do you use?

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

*making a mental note to go check out Point Reyes*

CoyoteGirl said...

Aw man! I live here and I've never seen a bat ray!

Sounds like you had a magical trip out here. Let me know when you come out again so that we can go for a run.

k said...

I'm loving the series and am trying to wrap my head around this toblerone bagel. Part of me says "ew", the other "yes please".

Sunshine Girl said...

Hey Elizabeth-
The Salomon Raid Revo packs are the lightest thing out there and have lots of pockets for munchies (and bear spray!). We own 3 in 3 sizes. The 15, the 20 and 30. The 15 is my "go to" with 2l of water and lots of space for a jacket, toque, pants and food. I like 'em because they are LIGHT. Hope all is well in Montana!!

K-
The only way to make the cream cheese-Toblerone bagel better would be to add bacon.
Mmmm. Bacon.

Leslie's Keith said...

Mmmmm....Bacon....

k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k said...

ok, I'll try this again:
chocobacon

yum!

Leslie's Keith said...

That may be the BEST LINK EVER!

I've now decided that Chocobacon will definitly be a 'featured' treat at the end of each leg of Leslie's "Trail Trash Epic" this summer. That leaves me now until July 25th to perfect it!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

I found my way over from Deb's blog. I love the photos! It sounds like an idillic day in the mountains for sure.

Claude Diamond-Lease Purchase Real Estate said...

Nice going, it's what running is all about. Makes life worth living. Think about all the dummies sitting infront a big screen TV eating doritos

Anonymous said...

lglgcvayx
http://www.woolrichitalystore.com/ woolrich
http://www.mywoolrich.com/ woolrich
http://www.woolrichsitaly.com/ outlet woolrich
http://www.woolrichsalecheap.com/ woolrich costo
http://www.woolrichitalyshop.com/ woolrich sito ufficia
woolrich italia
woolrich italia
woolrich spaccio
woolrich parka
outlet woolrich
[url=http://www.woolrichitalystore.com/]outlet woolrich[/url]
[url=http://www.mywoolrich.com/]outlet woolrich[/url]
[url=http://www.woolrichsitaly.com/]woolrich italia[/url]
[url=http://www.woolrichsalecheap.com/]woolrich parka[/url]
[url=http://www.woolrichitalyshop.com/]outlet woolrich[/url]