Mt. Tam and Stinson Beach - August, 2018

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Six of us had a mid-week walk at Mt. Tam that was difficult, scenic, & entertaining. 

Difficult, because we had a nearly non-stop elevation gain of 1,600 feet right from the start, ending only at the lunch stop, with an equally steep descent to Stinson Beach, the complete walk being 7 miles long.  Scenic, because of ubiquitous bracken ferns, and, long-arched Bay Laurel trees and huge redwoods.

Entertaining, because we valley dwellers, where's it been very hot lately, got a dose of cool, foggy coastal weather, and with continuous condensation of fog on the foliage, the slightest wind lead to rain-like moments.  Or, if there's no wind, the drops get heavy and fall, and in the densest fog you hear drops falling all around.  A number of us expressed positive sentiments about the weather conditions here.         

It was also 'atmospheric' because dense fog greatly diffuses light and creates an immediate sense of depth, making for interesting tree photos.       

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

at the trailhead an endless climb begins Stinson Beach below creek crossing  & stairs
  fog increasing   Barbara & Linda 'lichen' a moist environment
  great light   ghostly Bay Laurels  
  fortress  thistle see note 2 quick fuel stop w/another mile to lunch stop (soup quality) bay leaves
some kind of pine    not Bay Laurels trail construction
  lunch over, ready to walk we climbed down a ten-foot ladder bracken fern Redwoods
long steep downhill to the beach little creek a plant that likes to grow near water fruit at ends, see note 1 below
  horsetail trail through the trees Marin County landscape Surjit on the trail
Stinson Beach ahead poison oak's fall colors Surjit on the stairs almost back -  Amaryllis in town  
  Stinson Beach hanging out at the beach Surgit, on a day off     

note 1 - these two out-of-focus images show the last traces of fruit out at the ends.      

note 2 - on this very foggy part of the walk, only the ground in front was in focus, but I could see downhill to my right, I mean, the terrain was amazingly steep to the right.  Suddenly the trail became so smooth, free of all tripping hazards, no doubt having been removed, for good reason, because if you lost your balance here and fell off on the right side, you'd be a goner, very quickly, due to what appeared to be a 300 to 400 ft. drop, really only a few feet away.  The 'quick fuel stop' photo also shows this....it looks like a 45 degree slope to me.  

There would be no way to halt an increasingly helpless tumbling downhill for minutes, legs akimbo, encountering exposed rock faces, etc.  It may sound morbid, but as a hiker I had to appreciate the risk factor here, right next to me, and verbalized it aloud to Linda and Barbara, who were just behind me.  "Stop looking to the right, or else you'll end up there" Barbara said.     

We finished a little later than expected and on the drive home we stopped at Larkspur Landing for an early group dinner, hoping to delay our being caught in peak commute traffic, which for the most part worked. Overall, it was a good day out, the drive each way being pleasant & in good company.    

Frank's website has a group photo plus a GPS based graphic showing where we were: https://tiocampo.smugmug.com/Day-Trips/2018/Davis-Pantoll-Steep-2018/

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