This past Thursday we started thinking about what the weekend would hold and agreed that it was time for a hike. Tricky thing was deciding where to go since we are still clueless about anything that’s not inside walking distance from our apartment, with the exception of wine country, for obvious reasons.
We finally confirmed a trail within an acceptable driving distance, about 19 miles away. Upon exiting the city the temperature was hovering around 67 degrees, peaked around 76 after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and then dropped to a misty 56 degrees when we finally reached the parking lot to start our hike (1 hr 34 min later!) Compared to temperatures surpassing 100 degrees across the bridge last weekend, this was unexpected.
We picked the Cataract Creek Loop Trail in Marin Country just past the Muir woods because 1) it had great reviews, 2) we wanted a hike in the 6-8 mile range, and 3) it’s a “loop.” Loop should be used cautiously because the Cataract trail intersects with at least 7 other trails meaning that you have to know which trail to get on when in order to actually loop around. I’ve watched enough Naked and Afraid to know that I didn’t want to get lost in the forest. Fortunately for Daniel (who wanted to wing it), I did some research and jotted down the appropriate route.
Given the weather and California’s drought conditions, I was pretty skeptical that the ensuing 8 miles was going to be worth it. The hike reviews exclaimed of the beautiful views and waterfalls. At the outset, we could hardly make out cliff edges much less panoramic views.
After 2.4 miles, it was like we were in on a completely different hike. Blue sky and at least 75 degrees!
We’d steeply climbed some ambiguous amount feet at this point, only to descend the same amount over the next 2.1 miles. On the descent, shaded by massive Oak trees, the weather was mildly chilly. When we arrived at our lowest point bordering Alpine Lake, though the sun was shining, the wind was whipping and the temperature had dropped to the low 60s.
Here we ate our lunch while we took in the picturesque scenery until the cold wind overcame us, and we trekked on … and up, then down, then up again over the next 3.39 miles. Needless to say, our legs were smoked after those climbs! This was rated “moderate” intensity hike which is perfect for us. We like a little challenge and a good workout, but nothing too crazy.
Despite the temperature swings, it was relatively comfortable weather for 8 miles, and I never felt the hike was dangerous which earns it extra points in my book.
The only real drawback was roughing up my new Nikes. I’m still within the 30-day “no questions asked” return window, so I might just take them back.
Just kidding. 🙂