Decepticon weather around Muir Woods

Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
Trip End Aug 25, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday was the holiday in the US for the July 4 weekend. We were warned before hand not to go to Muir Woods on a weekend. It will be packed. Unfortunately we did not heed the warning. Luke & I jumped into the rental car and headed out of the city. But not before we decided to do something really touristy - we drove down what can be called the most twisted street in North America: Lombard Street. After an emergency Starbucks stop we drove up to the top of Lombard street then slowly navigated the twisted street at a pace where snails crawling up the steep street were passing us. It truly is a pure tourist action and I felt sorry for the few people who actually lived on this section of Lombard and probably quite often got stuck in minor traffic jams trying to park their cars in their own driveways.

We should have guessed that things were not going to be easy getting to Muir Woods when we hit slow traffic just trying to get onto the Golden Gate bridge. The traffic never really sped up but we managed to follow the crowd and a very confused Mr GPS to arrive at the Muir Woods National Monument. A swath of land that made you forget you were not even 60 mins away from downtown San Francisco. Unfortunately we could find no parking and so we slowly headed towards Muir Beach hoping that at some point there would be a place for us in the "additional parking" section. None was to be had so instead we headed straight to Muir Beach where there was ample parking. 

In typical San Francisco fashion it was definitely not beach weather at Muir Beach but there was an assortment of brave people huddled together in blankets and sleeping bags fighting off the cold winds coming off of the Pacific. We walked onto the small beach then headed up the southern cliff to try and get some hiking in. After all that was our goal - to get out of San Francisco and do some hiking. We considered this our warm up hike and enjoyed the view from the top. We watched the waves crash against the rocks below and and admired some of the unique architecture of the homes on the other side of the beach.

The warm up hike was nice but we longed for something a bit more challenging or at least lengthy. A friend had suggested we try the Steep Ravine Trail and so we headed north in search of the trail head. We were successful in finding the Steep Ravine campground but had no luck in finding the trail head. Even some locals in a taco stand in Stinson Beach were sketchy on how to hook up with the trail. We followed their directions and soon found ourselves climbing higher and higher into Mount Tamalpais State Park. When suddenly something completely unexpected happened: we broke through the dense cloud cover and found ourselves under a bright blue sunny sky. The temperature also had warmed up substantially.

We drove into the Pantoll Ranger Station Park HQ however once again there were no parking spots to be had. We spied some more spots a bit up the hill across the road but they were full and so instead we climbed up higher until we finally found a place to park the car. We emerged at a spot called Trojan Point and began to enjoy the sun and warm temperatures. The land around us was parched. The grass a golden brown and the clouds hovered underneath us as a white fluffy blanket. There were some trails crisscrossing the hills and so we began our hike and entered into the tall grass.

We followed the contour of the hill and then disappeared into a thick woody patch. The shade was a welcome relief from the strong rays of the sun. We hiked for about 2 km and then emerged at the Pantoll ranger station where we were able to our bearings, a map and some guidance on where we would find some redwood trees. Our goal now was to follow the Stapelveldt trail until it intersected with the Ben Johnson trail which would take us into the north end of Muir Woods National Monument. We didn't have to walk far before the redwoods appeared. High into the sky they stretched. They were magnificent and air was filled with an aroma that could never be captured in an air freshener.

We continued on for about an hour before we decided we should have an exit strategy. We decided to abandon Ben Johnson and look for Dipsea which led us back up to the Ranger Station. There was no trail back to the car so we slowly followed the road on some very sore and tired legs. Eventually we found the car. We had hiked for about 4 hours. We were tired, hungry and exhausted. Back in the car we headed away and stopped at a hilltop hotel/restaurant and enjoyed an amazing burger with home fries covered in rosemary and olive oil. That seemed to satisfy our hunger until we found ourselves stopped in the traffic trying to get back into San Francisco. 
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