Editor?s note: The Coastal Trail described in today?s journal was rated by San Francisco Chronicle trail writer, Tom Stienstra, as the best trail in the entire Bay Area, an area renown for an abundance of fine hiking opportunities.
Day leader Paul McKown appeared at 8 AM for our departure, and we were off. Our walk through the Point Reyes National Seashore?s Burton Wilderness (named after Congressman Phil Burton, the man behind saving Point Reyes), gives a hint of what the Coastal Trail can be ? well-maintained trails running along the coast. Given the geology of the peninsula with the abundance of decomposing granite and shale, the trail gives the appearance of a crushed granite walkway on some fine estate built by a premier landscape architect.
After lunch at Arch Rock, a popular destination for hikers leaving from the visitor center 4 miles inland, we began a steep ascent to an elevation of about 800 feet. You can tell when this group begins an ascent. The familial chatter that walks along with us stops. It is all work and concentration.
After our ascent comes the inevitable descent, this time into the camp at Wildcat. From Wildcat, we continued south past several lakes; several of our group stopped at Bass Lake for a quick dip. Soon after, we rounded a corner on the trail and got our first view of The City of San Francisco! Now we know that we have walked a long way. To paraphrase Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: we aren?t in Crescent City any more! (Jon Breyfogle; Photos Linda Hanes)
Left: Paul McKown (guide) & Diana Savage on the Coastal Trail, Point Reyes. Right: Approaching Wildcat camp and beach, Point Reyes National Seashore.