Coastal Trail Hike
February 13, 2013 7 Comments
There are sooo many things I LOVE about living in the Bay Area. I could ramble on all day about the numerous things, but the two that I was reminded of while hiking two weekends ago are the pleasant year-round weather and the amazing natural beauty.
Ever since I moved here eight and a half years ago I’ve been completely smitten; so smitten that I practically kiss the ground on which I walk every day in appreciation for how glorious it is. So smitten that I’m okay with the fact that Alex and I have been outbid on several houses by waaaaay over the asking price. I get it. Everyone else is just as crazy smitten and wants their piece of the Bay Area too. And, to me it’s worth it. It’s worth it when everything else here creates so much intense joy. It’s a kind of happiness that feels like a warm blanket as it swells around my heart giving me a sense that all is right in the world. At the same time this happiness produces flutters of excitement in my heart like a teenager in love for the first time. These two feelings coupled together create such an intensity bursting from my core that you just may find me doing heel clicks as I hike down the trail.
To soak in all of this amazing natural beauty and experience the fantastic February weather (both of which produce those intense feelings of gratitude), Alex and I went on the Coastal Trail hike in Marin; just 20 minutes outside of the city. The hike starts at Muir Beach.
After disembarking from the car we walked through the parking lot heading south. We walked over the boardwalk, took a left (going right will take you to the beach), and then started to make our ascent over Muir Beach.
After huffing and puffing our way up the hill, we were graced with a view high above Muir Beach. This too took our breath away, but in a completely different way.
When we glanced to our left, southward, we saw more gorgeous coastline. We kept hiking for a mile or so with significant elevation changes keeping our hearts pumping until you we started to make a side-trip down to Pirate’s Cove. Apparently Pirate’s Cove was a staging area for bootleggers in the 1920s, but I can’t quite imagine why when it seems like such an inconvenience to get there… or perhaps that’s precisely the reason?
And then make its way closer to shore covering the nearby rocks.
As the water swishes around lapping against the rocks it lends itself to a soft, foamy look.
And then, finally, the water recedes back to the ocean exposing all of the newly wet, shiny rocks.
Before heading back up the hill, Alex climbed on this rock and tested his balance in what he likes to call “crane pose” even though there is an actual yoga pose already with that name and it looks nothing like his version. I think he’s going to have to come up with a better name :P
The couple in the photo asked me where the Cove was and I said, “Isn’t this it?” “Ah, you’re as lost as we are,” was their response. Well, I didn’t really feel all that lost, but their comment left me questioning whether we had truly reached Pirates Cove. There was no sign saying so, but no other path down to a beach that we came across…unless we missed something.
As we made our way back to the main trail by climbing many steps two women approached us and asked if we wanted a picture of the two of us and, of course, we took them up on the offer.
We continued on and eventually came to this plateau where we could see for miles and miles in several directions. Here the trail appears to lead you off the cliff.
Eeeek! Probably not a good position for those who have a fear of heights.
Here you can somewhat see how much Alex is on the edge of a cliff and how far down it is.
We decided to sit down for a mid-hike lunch break while soaking in the expansive views.
It was so peaceful.
I could have basked in the sun all day admiring the impressive vista.
Yep. All day.
A few other hikers had the same idea, but by then it was onward for us so we set out back on the trail and came across another trail map.
If your eyes are sharp enough you may be able to see the trails we took. We started on the far left at Muir Beach and hiked along the Coastal Trail, took a quick detour down to Pirate’s Cove and then continued on Coastal Trail and stopped for our lunch at the point where it says: “YOU ARE HERE.” This is where we turned inland on Coastal Fire Road and took that loop around back to Coastal Trail. As you can see, there are many possibilities for longer hikes. This particular route was roughly around 5 miles.
This is the beginning of Coastal Fire Road.
When I turned to look to my right, I was taken aback by being able to see the tallest skyscrapers in the city peaking out between the dip in the hills. I’d love to see this view on a clearer day.
We continued on Coastal Fire Road and, despite appearing to be inland, it still offered stunning views of the mighty Pacific.
It wan’t until we kept descending for miles that I realized just how much we had climbed during the first half of the hike. No wonder it kicked my ass.
As we connected back with the Coastal Trail we saw our launching point, Muir Beach, and continued down the hill to our car. Overall, this was an awesome hike and I highly recommend it. In fact, I want to go back and explore other trails. We were in a time crunch this particular day to look at open houses for those unreasonably expensive homes I mentioned earlier. But these sorts of adventures are a good reminder of why we live here and why the cost of living is so, understandably, high.