Monday, February 17, 2014

Introduction to Northern California

Moving from Arizona to the bay area two weeks ago was a big change and my life is drastically different from that in the Desert Southwest.  The new position with my company in San Mateo has captured a great deal of my attention, and the rain has limited any major outdoor pursuits, until now.  There is certainly no shortage of places to explore in this part of the country, it's more a matter of where do I start?

A mere ten minute drive to the West towards Half Moon Bay are the Santa Cruz mountains; and within this range are several state parks and open space preserves.  On Saturday morning I was determined to see what lie within those hills and combine that with a trail run.  I got more than I could have ever asked for descending into the Purisma Creek Redwoods!  Towering trees, rushing streams, lush forests filled with moss and ferns, and a few breathtaking coastal views in just ten miles of trail.  After studying the map for a moment, I realized I could create a loop and connect both trailheads along Skyline Road (35).  So down I went on the Purisma Creek Trail for 4.3 miles to Higgins Canyon Trailhead, from there I climbed out Harkins Ridge to the North Ridge trail to reach the trailhead.   
The weekend was far from over.  I drove up to Santa Rosa later that afternoon to have dinner with Val and Josh and prep our day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore on Sunday.  We knew we wanted to spend the day hiking near the coast, though our route was yet to be determined.  It came together that morning once we arrived at the visitors center and looked over some more detailed information on the park.  First up, the coastal trail.  We were surprised by the sunny skies and warm temperatures as we completed the five-mile loop down the coastal trail counter-clockwise back up the laguna trail.  Since it was still early in the day, I suggested another hike.  Of course, I chose the summit trail to the top of Mount Wittenberg.  This 4.75-mile out and back was pretty straight forward, just a nice steady climb to a peak with limited views.  The interior scenery and shade made this one enjoyable.  With endless trail combinations at Point Reyes, I could spend and entire weekend out there running loops on the coast!          

Photo credit - (google images)