Sunday, March 13, 2011

18 miles of Marin

I have visited the Marin Headlands at least a half dozen times, and I have never, not once, been there when it wasn't encased in fog. I advocated aggressively for a trip to Marin this weekend, so I was thrilled when the famous California sunshine made a showing for our planned Saturday run. Even the insane St. Patrick's Day parade traffic in downtown San Francisco couldn't dampen my spirits for such a momentous occasion.

We met up with Beat's friend Jochen, who lives in the city. Jochen proposed a "little" run of about 18 miles.

Since it was to be only my second run post-Susitna, and following a fairly overactive week of mountain biking, I balked a bit at the distance. But then Jochen promised fantastic scenery — my weakness. OK, legs, guess you're gonna hafta cowboy up.

My Susitna pains still come back a bit when the mileage piles up — sore tendons in the outer sides of both feet, sore IT bands, and general reminders that running is quite hard — a fact that month of "rest" had managed to mask. I slowed up Beat and Jochen a bit, but they were also too busy enjoying the scenery to really notice.

The views were indeed awesome. The Headlands are a mostly tree-free ridge, allowing for sweeping panoramas from all angles. Trails routinely and quickly drop from 1,000 feet to sea level and then climb again.

The weather could not have been better — temperatures in the low 60s, a stiff sea breeze and abundant sunshine.

We dropped down to Pirate's Cove for a snack on the beach ...

Watched waves crash on the rocks ...

And checked out very recent mudslides, likely damage from Friday's tsunami.

On the way back into Tennessee Valley, we watched a bobcat hunt on the hillside.

And ran, ran, ran all the way back to the Golden Gate Bridge just in time for an evening of Thai food and cappuccinos in the city.

A fantastic day ... one much better served by pictures than words. Map and profiles at this link.


  1. funny, you ran some trails that I rode today. I rode the cross bike up mt. tam on railroad grade and came down coastal, up dias ridge and down miwok to tennessee valley to old springs to bobcat. then coastal to the bridge. fun day!

    now that you are in the bay area, you can add a new bike to the stable: a cyclocross bike.

  2. SF and the environs north of there are some of my favorite areas of the lower 48. Very envious!

  3. Hey stranger! I am enjoying your California pics!! I will be dirving through in April (driving from Seattle to LA). Will be camping in the Redwood National Forest!! Hope the weather stays as nice as this!!

  4. Love the Marin headlands! Looks so warm and nice. I think I will go try my first post-Su run out of inspiration.

  5. Nice pics, thanks for sharing. What kind of camera do you use? It doesn't look like you used a long (focal length) lens? Were you really that close to the cat?
    I saw a mointain lion at the "Dish" (ask Beat if you don't know what the Dish is) 2 days ago. There used to be a sign warning people about the BIG cat.
    Oh, there are lots of bobcats in Windy Hill OSP, coyotes, too.
    Have a nice day, Ann

  6. Ann,

    The camera is a just a Sony point and shoot, one of those indestructible models — I believe the DSC-TX5. Because it's small and waterproof/shockproof, I carry it on most of my outdoor outings, although I have a couple of nicer cameras that occasionally make an appearance on this blog as well, including a Sony NEX camera (point and shoot with interchangeable lens.) I often think I need to make more images with my nicer camera, but as is the case with many DSLR cameras, it's more difficult to carry and use while in motion.

    The bobcat was super close to the trail, only about 15 yards, and seemed pretty indifferent to the people gawking at it. Must be a fairly habituated cat.

  7. Beautiful pix - right in our backyard (San Rafael!) - and whatta day yesterday was - we agree, but I've never run it like you - kudos! Also love the bobcat - must have been such a surprise!

  8. awesome pics, makes me realize mtn biking in Ohio really sucks!

  9. What kind of socks is Beat wearing?? It looks like sort of an odd combo.

  10. OK, for the first time EVER I am contemplating a move to the coast. Maybe it is spring fever but this run looks like soooo much fun. Glad your diving into the adventures in CA and bring out of it the finest parts.

  11. On a previous post you had asked for some riding/trails suggestions in the bay area.

    1. Henry Coe. It's best to bike from the Hunting Hollow entrance (otherwise you END w/ a huge climb). Awesome ride: Anza>Jackson>Elderberry Spring>Kelly Lake>Dexter>Grizzly Gulch (you'll need to look at a map...I haven't included the fire-road bits).

    MTBers either love or hate's all about crazy steep climbs. The scenery is stunning...and there are 87K acres to lose yourself in. Best to ride in spring/fabulous wild-flowers. Summer is miserably hot...but lots of lakes.

    2. Soquel demo: MTB heaven...lots of fun loops. Or you can ride from SC (either from Nisene Marks or up Hinckley)

    3. Nisene Marks: fabulous running trails here! It's easy to put together both long and short loops on single-track. However, it's mostly in the redwoods, so you don't get the epic views you might on other coast trails.

    4. Sierra Azul in Los Gatos: go up Kennedy to the Sierra Azul entrance. It's about 45 min climb (maybe longer...a good grind), and you can drop down the fireroad called "dog-meat" then fork right for some single-track. You pop out at the reservoir.

    Have fun! As you have mentioned...there are lots of areas to explore in the bay area.

    Natasha/Santa Cruz

  12. Man, those trails are gorgeous. Up above the ocean and all... wow.

    Never seen a bobcat in CO (though I've seen a cougar sneaking away)fantastic!


Feedback is always appreciated!