Late Friday night, I jumped online to the wonderfully-named national park reservation site, www.reserveamerica.com, and snagged a place in Point Reyes for Sunday. Most weekend slots I discovered have been booked between now and October with only a few random weekdays and Sundays scattered throughout. I don't have to be at school until 5p on Mondays, so I decided to skip town for 24 hours and do some work in the woods.
I rolled out of my apt around 11:30a to find a perfectly warm and cloudless Sunday morning and headed north on the 101 for a little bit, blasting some throwback jams on Q102.1 with the windows down. No Diggity anyone? How 'bout some H to the Izzo. Made it through San Anselmo and Fairfax then out into the golden hills farther west and finally into Point Reyes.
I collected my camping registration form at the Visitor Center, donned my pack, and headed south on the Bear Valley trail into the California jungle. I say jungle because I kept expecting to see a pack of little raptors scamper amongst the trees or a triceratops crash through some ferns and cross my path. It looked a lot like Jurassic Park.
There was some really varied vegetation between my campsite and the water... deciduous forrest gave way to grassland gave way to pine forrest gave way to rocky and shrubby patches ultimately gave way to bare rock. All this within a few miles. Once on the coast I saw some islands about 20 miles off shore. Who knew! From San Fran, you can never see that far out due to the fog and the ever-present haze so this new-found visibility was a revelation.
I found a bluff overlooking Drake's Bay and Chimney Rock and plopped down there for the next four hours taking it all in. The gulls and pelicans drifting back and forth on the wind, the sun and the mood high up in the sky, the big waves coming in for miles and the ants that crawled around looking for whatever ants look for. I brought my notebook and brainstormed for class and even took a nap for a while.
Most everyone else at Glen Camp was settling in for the night by the time I got back. It was maybe 9:30p and most everything was quiet. I still had to make dinner and gingerly boiled water for my freeze-dried shepherds pie stew in a pouch as silently as I could. While it cooked, I simply lay on my back and watched the stars twinkle above for a while, since they were the only things visible anymore. I made a wish on a shooting star and caught the brightest Big Dipper I'd ever seen "on film" too.
The morning came way too early no thanks to a family group of guys who were up chatting loudly and making breakfast at 6:30, playing "Monkey in the Middle" by 7a. I really wanted to tell them to shut-up, but I also didn't feel like talking to anyone, not at 6:30am. It was really annoying, and I would bet a large sum that I wasn't the only one irritated by them. But since it wasn't possible to sleep anymore, I got up, packed up my stuff and got out of there just before 8, to make the 5 mile trek back to the car. My feet and legs were killing me most of the way back due to blisters and not being accustomed to carrying a heavy pack. But I managed and debated whether hiking the Appalachian trail or the Pacific Crest Trail sounded like lunacy or not.
I took my boots off immediately upon returning to my car and cringed at the prospect of having to push in the clutch for the hour-long drive back home. Fortunately, the pedals were forgiving and the scenic drive along the winding Pacific Coast Highway was a welcome distraction. It's simply gorgeous out here and, at least to me, it will never get old. I'm really glad I'm here.