Growing up, I had a distaste for the Bay Area in general. I thought it was polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating. I still think it’s all those things, but since living it (as one does on the Peninsula tucked away from all things polluted, ugly, crowded, and intimidating) I feel that delusional sense of pride and comfort that comes with making a place your home. That’s MY polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating home… hm.
I’ve hiked plenty of areas over the years, but more recently my hikes with little ones in tow often look more like strolls amongst a paved path shaped like a >1 mile loop. Family friendly but by no means adventurous and that sense of pride and accomplishment is associated with making it the whole mile without a meltdown, an accident, or an incident. Also, when I think about MOUNTAIN tops I’ve stood on, it’s never been because I hiked to that look out point.
So, #67 (climb to the top of a mountain) seemed like a reasonable quest to satisfy the urge. In a far off dream, this Mountain would be called Everest or Kilimanjaro. But until then, I settled on the highest peak in the immediate Bay Area- Mt. Tamalpais.
My friend Gina had posted about wanting to get out of her comfort zone and hike more, so it was easy to find a friend to come along with me. Not to mention in the past year or two, two women alone on their Mt. Tam hikes turned up dead (I failed to mention this to Gina) so the buddy system was in full effect! So was my taser gun (I failed to mention this to Gina, too).
The hike itself? We started at Bootjack Trailhead, started off upwards, paused at the West Wind Inn for lunch- now that’s an interesting hike-in resort- and then continued on toward East Peak. The most challenging part was the rock-climbing and stair-hopping Fern Creek trail but otherwise it was mostly scenic with a bit of shady and a bit of sunny. For those who want the false sense of accomplishment, I guess you can drive to the top, park your car and walk the extra 200 ft up to the Fire Watch Tower. But where’s the fun in that?? It took us 2.5 hours to climb up and then 1.5 hours to climb back down. The view from the top? Amazing of course. Everything from a far-enough-away distance looks beautiful. Sitting there for several minutes taking it in, I felt like the Bay Area was wonderfully peaceful and charming. Home, really.