Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Palomarin Hike

It’s a tradition for my mama and I to go on a hike the day before I leave the West Coast, whether I’m going to camp, or college, or Africa, or DC. On my last day at home I did my best to absorb all the beauty that Northern California has to offer to sustain me through a winter in the city.
It was raining in Petaluma, so we drove out to Bolinas, then up the coast a bit to Palomarin to hike to the waterfall. We’ve done this hike before – the trail overlooks the ocean for a while, then dips into the hills, passing 3 lakes.
My good eyesight and agile feet avoided stepping on seven newts and three banana slugs. (Here’s a picture of a newt – isn’t he cute??? But I don’t photograph banana slugs, they’re gross.)
Thanks to a road closure, the typical Marin hikers were conspicuously lacking, so we had the trail almost completely to ourselves.
About 4.5 miles in, there’s a turn-off to the left to get to Alamere Falls. This trail looks like a tiny deer-track…and it pretty much is.
When you get to the top of the waterfall you have to edge yourself down these mini canyons of dirt and rocks to see the water. 
(The picture above is the top half of the waterfall. Below is where it goes off the cliff.)

Then you have to ford the creek (Oregon Trail style) to see the fall as it goes off the cliff into the ocean below.

BUT if you’re me, your mama’s shrieks of “Mollie get away from there! Don’t do it! It’s too deep! It’s too far! No! No! No! You can’t jump that!” might dissuade you. Clearly (to me) I could jump across the creek to look over the edge. But my mama was unnecessarily freaking out, as she is wont to do (case in point – Sister2 and I didn’t call her for one day while we were skiing and Sister2 got five manic-mama-messages on her phone “I don’t care what you’re doing just call me back!!!”), so I didn’t. I guess we’ll just have to go back when there’s less run-off, especially because my mama spent the entire hike talking up this waterfall situation!
When we hike, it's a workout because we do it fast. As we wound around the hills towards the parking lot our legs ached – is it around this next corner? No? Maybe the next one?

Obviously we made it back, a little muddy but very happy. Sometimes I think that hiking is harder than running – mostly because it takes so much longer! But follow it up with brunch and we're good to go. 
If you're lucky enough to be in the Bay Area, click on this link for more info on hiking at Palomarin.