I was up in northern California visiting my mom during the Christmas/New Year’s break. She lives in the small town of Manchester on the Mendocino Coast. Now this is truly northern California as Manchester is about a 3-hour drive north of San Francisco. Whenever my uncle phones her he jokingly asks, “So, how is Oregon?” The terrain is quite different from southern California. The area is covered with dense forests of redwood trees rather than open desert terrain. There are some hiking opportunities in Mendocino County, but after a while I think one would miss the challenging rugged trails of southern California. In any event, one can manage to stay active by walking along the coast or along country roads, or go for a bike ride and brave the traffic on Highway 1. During my two-week stay I explored the coastal Stornetta Public Lands, hiked in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Mendocino Woodlands State Park, and of course I couldn’t pass up a tour of Anderson Valley Brewing Co. If you plan on driving through this area, then I recommend visiting these places.
15-mile road hike on Philo-Greenwood Road
Stornetta Public Lands with view of Point Arena Lighthouse
Hiking in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park with views of the town of Kenwood outside the city of Santa Rosa
Tour of Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, California
I felt very little when we were hiking in the Mendocino Woodlands State Park!
Read Full Post »
My mom and I did a camping trip in Humboldt Redwoods State Park last week, our first time in the redwoods of Northern California. We camped at Albee Creek campground for three nights and enjoyed the serenity of the forest. For my birthday I decided that I wanted to do a peak hike, Grasshopper Peak. I asked the ranger for directions to the main trailhead from the campground. She gladly pointed us in the direction and added that the hike is 3,000 ft. gain in about 7 miles in 80-90 degree weather. I knew beforehand what we would be signing up for. I thanked the ranger and we headed out of the campground. Once we reached the fire road off of Mattole Road the trails starts ascending. Luckily we had the shade of the trees to protect us from the sun. After about an hour into our hike I noticed something moving sluggishly about 200- 250 ft. ahead of me. I turned around to my mother and said “I think that’s a bear.” She looked and confirmed. So she starts fishing into her backpack for her camera while I’m turning back around. I said, “Mom, let’s go back.” To which she replies, “No let’s continue on. The bear went down into the ravine.” I argued with her for a while but I couldn’t stop her and I didn’t want her to go on her own. So we marched forward making noises with our trekking poles. Of course my heart was beating so fast. I had never seen a bear on the trail before and I was scared for at least an hour afterwards. But then I stopped thinking about it and tried to enjoy that I was hiking on my birthday in the redwoods. The trail is not as visually appealing as the trails at lower elevation, but the area is dense with green trees which is quite different from southern California. It reminded me of my days in Bloomington, Indiana. It is a tough hike, but if you are interested in summit hikes then this is for you. We finally reached the peak around noon and had lunch at the top and enjoyed the views overlooking the redwoods.
View from the top
Lunch with a view
On the trail
After our break we returned to the campground.
Trees along Mattole Road
I told the ranger that we saw a bear on the trail and she said that they normally don’t approach humans and that we were fine. In any event, I was glad to have returned safely to our campsite where drinks and a hearty dinner would be happily prepared.
Read Full Post »
I visited my sister in San Francisco over the Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday she took me to her favorite trails in Mt. Tamalpais State Park.
We managed to find a parking spot near the Pantoll Ranger Station despite the amount of tourists (yes, I was one of them). We started on the Coastal Fire Road and then hooked on to the Dipsea Trail. It was sunny when we began our hike and a layer of fog was hugging the coastline.
My sister was disappointed that I didn’t get clear views of the city and coast, but I thought it was still quite beautiful. Once we got onto the Dipsea Trail we were hiking in a thick forest of redwoods.
Moss on trees
I was amazed! Those trees are beautiful, and despite my sister’s 3.5 mph pace, I managed to keep up with her and take pictures! Several trail runners passed us and I thought to myself that this would be a great place for them.
My sister calls these the “Pillars of Tam”.
Our descent on the trail had me wondering, what will the ascent be like? We hooked onto the aptly named Steep Ravine Trail. Thankfully the towering trees provided shade and cooler temperatures for me to keep up with my sister on our ascent back to the ranger station.
When we returned to the station, my sister and I took a short break and then decided to do a different trail. We took the Alpine Trail to the TCC Trail which had less elevation gain and was a great way to cool down and have conversations without running out of breath.
On the TCC trail.
End of our hike.
Afterwards we decided that we needed to rehydrate and that beer was in order. She took me to the Gestalt Haus in the quaint town of Fairfax. It was a neat bar where we enjoyed drinks and sausages (vegan too) amongst mountain bikers who hung up their bikes inside the bar and caught up on rides with their friends.
Great biker bar!
Thanks to my sister for a magical day outdoors.
Read Full Post »