Over 500 miles of trails

Someone said that there are over 500 miles of trails in Marin County. I'm going to hike all of them. Want to hear more? Read on...

Location: Woodacre, California, United States

Well, I hike, obviously. I read, without retaining, lots of stuff but mostly classic and contemporary fiction, history, and science. I look at birds and plants. I play my guitar far less than I ought, and watch movies far more. I like to ask people questions, but only if they ask me questions in return. I aspire to honorable behavior and am mostly successful. I'm on the cusp of a career change, with bird research in my past/present and academic librarianship in my future. Occasionally I bust out and cook six course gourmet meals for my friends; for some reason it's always six and never seven or five. Enough about me. What about you? Stranger or friend, drop me a line!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Which brings us to the hike I went on today. I had big plans last night... I was going to hike to the top of Mt. Tam (elev. 2517') from a starting point of 200' elevation, up this really steep trail. And, I was going to wake up at 5 in the morning to do it. Needless to say, this didn't happen. I woke up at 5 and it was all grey and the bed was warm... and then I woke up for real at 7, which would have been perfectly sufficient in terms of leaving enough time, but I also wanted to beat the crowds since I was going to bring Arty on that hike. So I chose another hike, less popular, closer to home, easier, and still Arty friendly.

Starting from the Shafter Bridge just east of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, I hiked up the Peters Dam Fire Road to the dam that stops up Kent Lake. Continuing on the south/east shore of Kent Lake, the fire road circles round and climbs the steep slope next to the lakeshore, then drops back down to the lake's edge after about 2.3 miles. Arty and I paused here to contemplate all the dead trees poking up out of Kent Lake, then continued onward and upward till our trail met the San Geronimo Ridge Trail. This trail is quite rollercoastery and therefore popular with mountain bikers, so I had Arty on leash most of the way. After hiking the trail for about a mile, there's a little side trail that goes off to a great vista point of the lake below. Someone had carried in a couple of boards from which they fashioned impromptu benches, and it was a comfortable place to sit and look across the valley to Pine Mountain Ridge and Bolinas Ridge beyond. Back on the ridge trail, I kept going east until I hit the intersection with Hunt Camp Fire Road. I had previously hiked the ridge trail as far west as this; with today's hike it looks like I've hiked the entire San Geronimo Ridge Trail.

Poor Arty was patiently on leash up until this point with nary a mountain biker in sight. I was just considering releasing him when the onslaught began. There seems to be a local mountain biking club that wears orange and purple jerseys, and it seems to have quite a large membership. I encountered around 20 of them today, interspersed with mountain bikers that were apparently unaffiliated. They were all courteous and friendly enough, except for one orange and purple guy who hurtled by doing around 35mph. Arty was on leash but in the middle of the trail, and the guy was going so fast that I barely had time to yank him out of the way. The biker had a clear line of sight to us at the bottom of the hill and could have braked but clearly just didn't want to. I indulged in violent retribution fantasies for a little while until I regained my composure.

Backtracked to the junction with Peters Dam Fire Road, then took the Ridge Trail down the last 1.2 miles back to the trailhead. I think it was around 7 - 7.5 miles, all told.


Blogger AphotoAday said...

Hi Kelly,
Well, what a coincidence... About three weeks ago I took the first part of your hike, but only a mile or so past the dam... I hadn't been up there to Peter's Dam since I lived in Lagunitas, and that was about 37 years ago... I had forgotten what an immense lake it is -- a lake that few people ever see... Oh, I'll give it another try some day... Maybe I'll get a bit farther... I've hiked down that same trail from the other direction -- starting at Alpine Dam, and have gone farther north than the southern tip of Kent Lake, but as you know, Kent Lake is a very long lake... And yes, those snags sticking out of the water are erie, aren't they...
So, Kelly, thanks for sharing your hike -- it was adventurous and entertaining, as usual...
Best regards, Don and Kitty

5:49 PM  
Blogger TJIC said...

It would be cool to have a robot dog. I don't mean like that orange abomination from the original Battlestar, but something that actually looked like a dog.

One could then NOT yank the dog out of the way, allowing the mountain biker to play "chicken" with an immovable object.

I would enjoy seeing a jackass catapulted down a fire road after such an encounter.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

My retribution fantasies were much less imaginative, mostly just involving hand-to-hand combat. But an immovable robotic dog is good, too. How would the robot dog withstand the momentum of the bike? Servo-mechanisms in its feet, or something?

10:05 PM  

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