Bay Area hiking

Purisima Creek Redwoods Hike

We knew it was going to rain on Sunday, but thought that would make for an extra magical hike. I had been wanting to do a trail at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve for awhile now. I always pass it on my long solo drives up Skyline and have suspected there is a killer ocean view. It was super chilly and luckily I had a bag of clothes to donate in the trunk so I could add extra layers!

There's just something about moss. 

There's just something about moss. 

One of my favorite places to search for hikes is Bay Area Hiker. I went on the second hike in that link. I made the mistake of not reading where the trailhead was, instead just pulling off at the Purisima Creek parking lot. This meant that what I thought was a 7-mile hike was actually an almost 10-mile. It wasn't a big deal, we just had to be somewhere at 3pm and ended up being late. It all worked out though. All in all we did the loop of Harkins Ridge to Purisima Creek to the Craig Britton Trail. 

Return of the Jedi?

Return of the Jedi?

At first, the hike brought me right back to the Pacific Northwest. I lived there in junior high and have camped the overcast West Coast many times. Definitely planning a trip there in the fall. Also, every time I get in the redwoods, I think of Return of the Jedi. I probably watched it too much as a kid.

Foggy hillside

Foggy hillside

Layers of hills 

Layers of hills 

First glimpse of the sea

First glimpse of the sea

The trail was a bit of a roller coaster, going up and down to get to views of the ocean, fog settling in between the pines. The hike dips down to Purisima Creek, with lush ferns and banana slugs everywhere. 

Purisima Creek

Purisima Creek

I saw a salamander, tons of banana slugs and wildflowers including, poppies, wild irises, Indian paintbrush and baby blue eyes. 

Little salamander on its way

Little salamander on its way

Wild irises

Wild irises

Indian paintbrush

Indian paintbrush

Sea view

Sea view

Bryan and closed poppies. 

Bryan and closed poppies. 

This is one of the best hikes in the area. My legs are still super sore two days later. I didn't fully time it, but it took somewhere around 4 hours. It's totally worth it for the workout, views and variation. The last leg of the hike was on the Craig Britton Trail where a dedicated bench plaque reads, "They aren't making any more land, so preserve it while you can!"

True, true.

Portola Valley Hike

I'm getting ready to hike the Skyline-to-Sea trail in September. I've been hiking a lot lately midst my busy schedule, which is definitely satisfying the lack of camping I've done this year. This hike was from last week in Portola Valley. I wanted to get into the studio for part of the day so we decided not to venture as far as we usually do.

Imagine if this was your work desk view. Lucky rangers!

Imagine if this was your work desk view. Lucky rangers!

The ranger station was full of great information about the area. 

The ranger station was full of great information about the area. 

Ah, the prices of yesteryear... 

Ah, the prices of yesteryear... 

The  Coyote Ridge Trail , a fairly steep hike and a good workout.  

The Coyote Ridge Trail, a fairly steep hike and a good workout.  

The beautiful view along the ridge. These slightly overcast days are always welcome when hiking uphill. 

The beautiful view along the ridge. These slightly overcast days are always welcome when hiking uphill. 

I was overwhelmed by the yellow green of this drying fern against the layers of blue and green mountains.

I was overwhelmed by the yellow green of this drying fern against the layers of blue and green mountains.

Lightning took down some redwoods in this grove. I can't imagine watching this massive trunk fall.

Lightning took down some redwoods in this grove. I can't imagine watching this massive trunk fall.

You can't possibly come to this area without stopping at  Alice's Restaurant ! A classic biker and classic car meetup spot, Alice's has the best food. Do you like garlic fries? Buffalo burgers? Free range? Grass fed?  All the burgers are named after motorcycles and their dessert selection is something else. Oh yes, the staff? So friendly and fun. I've been coming here for years and it is consistently great.

You can't possibly come to this area without stopping at Alice's Restaurant! A classic biker and classic car meetup spot, Alice's has the best food. Do you like garlic fries? Buffalo burgers? Free range? Grass fed?  All the burgers are named after motorcycles and their dessert selection is something else. Oh yes, the staff? So friendly and fun. I've been coming here for years and it is consistently great.

Blackberry pie and black coffee.  Agent Dale Cooper  would be so proud.  Thank you  Alice's  for satisfying my appetite.

Blackberry pie and black coffee. Agent Dale Cooper would be so proud.  Thank you Alice's for satisfying my appetite.

Alamere Falls

I've noticed a strange phenomena. When I leave San Jose, good things happen. Okay so maybe that's not that strange. When I'm on the road, I'll check my phone and inevitably, I sold some art. This seems to happen when I go to San Francisco and the North Bay. I am getting the feeling that I eventually need to live somewhere else. I also get plenty of new ideas and feel super relaxed when I get back. Although I haven't traveled too far this year, I've managed to get to LA, Gold Country, Mendocino and camped a bit. Luckily in California, you can just travel for the day and feel like you took a vacation. 

In my book, it really doesn't get any better than the Northern California coastline. Ferns, the ocean, fields, creeks, lakes, dense hallways and more peepholes made up the Alamere Falls hike we did this weekend. Although I love Big Sur, the California coast from north of San Francisco to the Oregon border is surreal. I've driven up and down Highway 1 many times and it gets me every time. From Bolinas to Bodega Bay, Salt Point to Gold Bluffs, it's just one grand beach after another.

On Sunday, we did the Alamere Falls trail. Although last week's hike was a stunner, this one had even more variety in terrain. It was incredible, to say the least.

 


The hike starts in a Eucalyptus grove.  Although these trees seem right at home here, they are not native to California, but Australia.

The hike starts in a Eucalyptus grove.  Although these trees seem right at home here, they are not native to California, but Australia.

Just out of the Eucalyptus, a grand view of the sea. 

Just out of the Eucalyptus, a grand view of the sea. 

We stumbled upon a lily pond. 

We stumbled upon a lily pond. 

One of a few hallways on the hike. 

One of a few hallways on the hike. 

Bryan  hiking ahead. 

Bryan hiking ahead. 

The first of two lakes we found on the trail. We found a family finishing up swimming. We're going to come back and use that rope swing... or maybe return with thicker rope.

The first of two lakes we found on the trail. We found a family finishing up swimming. We're going to come back and use that rope swing... or maybe return with thicker rope.

I kept referencing Labyrinth as we walked through walls of ferns, poison oak and more. A little finch was leading us through here and I definitely expected a secret door to open.

I kept referencing Labyrinth as we walked through walls of ferns, poison oak and more. A little finch was leading us through here and I definitely expected a secret door to open.

We made it to the the falls. This is the first of three tiers.  

We made it to the the falls. This is the first of three tiers.  

Alamere Falls leads right into the sea. You have to scramble down rock wall to get to it. There were hardly any people here, just a nudist and a few couples.  

Alamere Falls leads right into the sea. You have to scramble down rock wall to get to it. There were hardly any people here, just a nudist and a few couples.  

Sea overview.jpg
We'll be back soon.

We'll be back soon.

Marin in Marin

As much as I work, I find it super important to drive away and be in beautiful places. Last Sunday, I spent the day at Mt. Tamalpais near Stinson Beach. About three years ago I camped here and I did a photo shoot in the area earlier this summer. I returned for some tranquility and found one of the most beautiful hikes ever.  We roamed through fields with ocean views, trekked into damp woods and then above the fog. Whether it's blue skied or foggy, it's perfect.

The Matt-Davis Steep Ravine Loop is about 7 miles and as you will see in the photos below, stunning and always changing. 

Good beginnings start with winding staircases. That's  Bryan  way up there.

Good beginnings start with winding staircases. That's Bryan way up there.

Dense branches everywhere and lots of ispiring patterns.

Dense branches everywhere and lots of ispiring patterns.

Lush ferns and walking along a creek. 

Lush ferns and walking along a creek. 

A foggy trail above Stinson Beach. 

A foggy trail above Stinson Beach. 

The ladder made this trail extra cool.

The ladder made this trail extra cool.

This part of the trail wove in and out of the fog.  

This part of the trail wove in and out of the fog.  

...And it cleared up! The trail was blue skied once we hit the top. 

...And it cleared up! The trail was blue skied once we hit the top. 

We wrapped up the hike around 6 or so. The thick trees made a nice peephole to the sea.

We wrapped up the hike around 6 or so. The thick trees made a nice peephole to the sea.

It's always good to get lost. 

It's always good to get lost.