The last few days have been spent with family down in Sonoma County. While down there, I was able to slip away and knock out the first three trails of my new book project, Hiking Northern California. The book is slated to cover the northern 2/3 of the Golden State, so I will be covering trails from the southern end of Sequioa National Park and Big Sur all the way up to Oregon. This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to everything (that would be a large book indeed) but a sampler of highlights intended to spur exploration of areas throughout Northern California. Nonetheless, this is a daunting projects, considering how far-flung and diverse these trails are. I pray I will do this incredible state justice.
During the spring months, I will be focusing my attention on the lower regions, where there is no snow and the conditions for hiking are ideal. Over the last few days, I completed two hikes in the Bay Area and one further north on the coast. Considering how many other family responsibilities (pleasures, really) I had, I was impressed with myself for squeezing in 23 miles of trail, some of which involved driving to pretty remote locations and some grueling but incredibly spectacular trail. I think things are off to a great start!
I have shied away from trip reports and the like on Hike Mt Shasta, but I have received enough requests to include some posts on trails I do for the book that I am going to put up some pictures from time to time to show what is coming. That said, this is the first installment!
The first hike I completed was at Point Reyes. Alamere Falls is the obvious highlight of the park, in my opinion. Though this has been one of my favorite hikes since I was a kid, I have not visited it in a few years. I was surprised how popular the trail had become. While this did give me pause, I was pleased to see the falls are as awesome as ever and will not dissappoint. A massive tidefall (a waterfall that falls into the sea), the opportunity to hear the roar of the falls in contrast to the crashing surf is a unique and memorable experience. Simply spectacular.
The second hike I completed was a loop around the Mt. Diablo summit. This hike was difficult at times but for the sheer number of incredible vistas from the trail, this network of trails are tough to beat. Views included most of the Sierra Nevada, Lassen Peak, most of the Central Valley, including large cities like Sacramento and Stockton, the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their concluence at the Delta, the North Coast and South Coast Range and the almost all of San Francisco Bay, including the city of San Francisco itself. Many other sites were visible but it would almost be numbing to list them all. This is just one staggering spot. Be sure to click this image and enlarge it to see if you can make out the detail!
The last hike I did was the northern partof the Lost Coast Trail, from the mouth of the Mattole River to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse. It was shrouded in heavy, heavy fog, but the trail was still an amazing journey. Alternating between hiking on beach and trail, this is and incredible coastal experience. Wild and rugged, this area truly is “lost”. This may qualify as the most remote trail in the entire book!