Hike: Point Reyes (Stienstra Loop)

Up until about a year ago, Mr. WholeHog and I had nearly the same work schedule. There was even a period when we both worked downtown so we commuted together and often met for lunch, too.  But over the past year, our schedules diverged: Mr. WholeHog now works weekends (although at least he no longer works weeknights), while I still work Monday through Friday. We no longer have weekends off together and unless it’s a holiday, we don’t have any full days off work to spend together.

If we do happen to have a day off and it’s not raining, we often try to go out on a hike. We like to hike and we like exploring some of the beautiful areas near SF, but going out on a hike also gives us time — time that isn’t disturbed by phone calls or emails and time that we won’t end up spending on household chores. So when faced with an unexpected day off together in February, a clear, sunny day before a forecast of (at least) five straight days of rain, we went to Point Reyes.

Point Reyes often feels a little too far away for a day trip. Although it’s only about 30 miles away from SF, it can take about an hour to get there. (And if you’re headed to the lighthouse or Tomales Point, you’ll have another 30-40 minutes to go.) Ideally, you get an early start but if you’re like Mr. WholeHog and I, you sleep in and then have a leisurely pancake breakfast before you decide to head out of town.

By the time we left SF, it was after noon. We were ambitious: we hoped to get to Point Reyes and finish a 9+ mile hike before dark.

The hike took us through the woods, along paths lined with blooming currant bushes, before it opened up to the sort of coastal views that Point Reyes is famous for.  If we had more time, it would have been nice to stop to the beach at Coast Camp, the natural halfway point on the hike before you start making your way back up the ridge.  But by the time we passed the turn off for Coast Camp, it was already 4pm and we still had a good 3 or 4 miles ahead of us, all uphill.

If we still had the luxury of spending our weekends together, I might have saved this hike for the spring when there might have been more wildflowers, but it was good to just be out on a walk through a beautiful part of the state on a glorious winter day.

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