Monday, March 9, 2009

Trip Report: Point Reyes Backpacking

Trip: Point Reyes National Seashore
Method: Backpacking
Day 1: Bear Valley Visitors Ctr>Bear Valley Trail>Glen Trail>Coast Trail>Wildcat Camp
Day 2: Coast Trail> Arch Rock>Bear Valley Trail>Bear Valley Vistors Ctr
Date: March 2009
Difficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate
Plusses: Stunning coastline, relatively mellow hiking, close to the Bay Area, wilderness-y single track trails
Minuses: Takes planning to make a reservation, trails and campsites can be crowded

Details: Backpacking at Point Reyes is like getting a beer after work with a friend who you feel comfortable with. The logistics are simple, the event predictable, you always have a good time, and you always remember why you like the guy/gal.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a little more than an hour north of San Francisco. There is a shuttle (the Stagecoach) that can get you to right to the Park's entrance from Central San Rafael, so you can even go the public transportation route.
The scenery is amazing. From intense stands of Douglas Fir, to soft rolling meadows, to impossibly steep cliffs dropping off into the ocean, the variety and drama of the landscape makes you feel like you are way further away from civilization than you are. First rule of thumb is to get off the Bear Valley Trail (the highway) as soon as possible for the ultimate nature-y experience.
The only camping is back country, which in the summer is nearly impossible to reserve. Winter is easier, but the best thing to do is just pick a weekend 3 months out and reserve a site (for last-minute summer camping, the Tomales Bay boat in sites are awesome, but that's another post). All sites have running water, outhouses, and trash/recycling. Yup, you don't have to pack out your trash. Again, not super wilderness-y, but it adds to the overall easiness of this trip.
I tried out my new Black Diamond firstlight tent, as well as my Z-lite thermarest, and was pleased. The tent was very roomy for a 2 person ultralight! I also test drove the big batch of veggies I dehydrated a few weeks back and they worked great- I am starting to perfect the ultimate backpacking dinner! I will post when I get it perfect.
On a personal level, we had a great group and a ton of fun. 8 of us- wow! But lots of laughter and silliness and we all ended the trip drinking local beers and eating oysters, so yeah. It didn't suck.


jen said...

What a trip! Amazing photos. I can't believe that waterfall! I've been in the general area but never on that trail. Looks gorgeous. :)

backpackingamer said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

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