In the beginning there was darkness... (That is, it was pretty dark out when we hit the trail at 7:30 pm.)

I would've taken some pictures, but a growling stomach kept me from investing the time to drag out the tripod for night shots. This is what the pictures probably would've looked like anyway.

I remember sitting in my living room in the hours before our departure. Looking out the window, I wondered if the 40 kt. winds and driving rain might put a damper on a weekend of backpacking.

As it turns out, we barely got rained on at all! Friday night was a little soggy while we were in the tents. (Dave and Bryan woke up with a bathtub inside their tent.) But other than that, the weather was splendid!

We were prepared for the worst, of course... L to R: Aaron, Lily, Dave (w/giant pack... more jokes to come...), Bryan.

Just cuz it warn't rainin', din't mean the trails weren't all a-mucky!

Yucky.

But when the sun came out, it made for some lovely lighting.

(Most of the pictures from this trip didn't turn out very well. I blame the lighting... not my amateurish photography skills.)

This trail decided to skip the whole mud thing and jump right to being a river. Note our footsteps in the lush grass to the right.

Shortly after the above-pictured river, we came across a section of trail that was completely submerged with no visible alternatives. Most of us decided that gingerly tiptoeing across the grassy patches would be the best method of traversal.

Man-of-Action Bryan wasn't having any of that nonsense. He ran right across that motherfucker! Roll over the picture to see him splash!

(Actually, looking at how his feet part the puddle, I think he might have been onto something...)

 

As the sun started to come out, we paused to stash our rain gear at an oceany vista. There were some gnarly waves down below. Andre—ever the dedicated fantasy surfer—mind-surfed the shit out of every one.

Then he spied the Farallon Islands off in the distance. (See picture.)

At one point I saw a weird fence off to the side of the trail. I thought it warranted investigation. The rest of the party—like the bearded duo shown here—couldn't have cared less.

...and then!

Dave spotted this sweet vista of Pt. Reyes sweeping majestically out to sea!

Dig his excitement!...and his sweet bass hat...

...and his giant backpack with matching bowtie!

(Having recently acquired a sweet van, Sarah and I felt guilty about having two gas-guzzling vehicles. So we sold Fat Lucy and bought a Civic hatchback. We were concerned that there wouldn't be very much space in the new car for gear on camping trips. Dave put these fears to rest.)

Earlier in the day, some guys on the trail told us that because of the earthquake in Chile, there was a tsunami watch in effect that afternoon. We didn't see the tsunami (at least, we didn't think we saw the tsunami...), but there was a pretty sizeable swell moving in.

These monsters don't seem so big until you see the little lumps on the outcropping to the right and realize they're people. (Roll over the image for a close-up.)


...gulp...

The team descends towards the waves. Lily charges ahead with a sizeable lead over Red-Hat-Sarah. Aaron takes a close third, but Bryan follows hot on his tail. Dave cruises along in a comfortable fifth. (Andre is nowhere to be seen.)

Smaller set. Same little lumps. Significantly closer.

With all the rain we've been getting, I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be a terrific wildflower season. By this point, however, there were only two flowers in the entire park.

Here they are.

OMG! Blue sky!

(I can't figure out who that is lurking in the bushes in the middle of the picture...)

Stopping for a quick break at a fork in the road, Andre and Dave decide to risk certain tsunami death and investigate Arch Rock, a short jaunt down the trail.


It's a damn good thing they did too! There were about a dozen helpless children playing in the surf when the tsunami finally hit. Luckily, thanks to the bravery of these two hikers, every one of them was saved. (Also lucky was the fact that their thankful parents had a dry change of the exact same clothes Andre and Dave were wearing!)

But enough about me. That's Arch Rock. You can see where the water comes through right in the middle.

Reuniting with the group, Dave took a moment to rearrange his pack. (A favorite pastime, we soon discovered.)

Also pictured: Bryan's swarthy lacrosse t-shirt and Aaron's exposed knee-pits.

I found a strawberry!

As it turns out, we weren't the only ones slogging around in the mud. A buncha worms seem to have passed this way as well.

(No annelids were harmed in the taking of this photo.)

After lunch (Bryan ate an apple core), "up" was the new "flat." With only a little over three miles to go, we had some serious elevation to gain.

(In a surprise uphill maneuver, Bryan and Aaron move to the front of the pack! Lily and Sarah are hot on their heels, flying into the first switchback! Dave retains his comfortable fifth. Andre continues to be not seen.)

Sarah: apparently with her hair all tucked up in her rastacap.

 

Sweet view of the coast looking south.

Narrowing in on Sky Camp (our home for night #2), we found evidence of earlier "visitors."

Actually, that graffiti in the last picture looks a lot like this slug...

(The small bite taken out of this leaf is adorable.)

Uh-oh...

Get it?!

Confirmed. Boy scouts.

Actually, even though most of them were armed with bo-staves, tent poles, and sticks of various varieties, the scouts were remarkably quiet and well behaved.

(We, with our scotch, rum, and hot chocolate, were less well behaved.)

Sky camp was killer! Lot's of little glens and hidey-holes to camp in. Our spot was in the little stand of trees just behind the solar-powered pit toilets.

Sarah thought this would be a good place to cast some long shadows.

There were a couple of picnic tables under some beautiful old trees. We thought that they might make a good spot to dry out our feet while the sun set.

Sarah lurks inside this lurking tent.

With the sun creeping up over the hills in the morning, Andre took the opportunity to fill his quota of artsy-fartsy pictures...

...an endeavor made much easier by the thick, sparkling dew that coated everything.

See what I mean?

OK. That's enough. (I do like this one though!)

L to R: Dave's pack, Dave's (banana snarfing?) shadow, Bryan viciously gnawing on what appeared to be a gourmet sandwich, and Lily quietly rolling out of view.

Not pictured: the kid that dropped trou and started doing his/her business right in front of everybody before dad came over and pulled 'em up.

On the hike in—it being the black of night—we didn't see all these sweet, slippery bridges along the sides of the Bear Creek Trail.

I was tempted to give this one a whirl, but given that my companions had continued to hike ahead while I dilly-dallied taking pictures, I figured it wouldn't be wise to go slip-sliding down into the ravine with nobody around to fish me out.

Sarah and Bryan, almost to the car.

Glasses crooked , hair mussed up, thermarest poorly-patched, grin gummy, thumbs firmly hooked, and thoroughly content.

A map of the trip. We went clockwise starting and ending at the tip of the upper right antenna. (Here's a link to more mappy info.)

Day 1: 4.59 mi.
Day 2: 10.05 mi.
Day 3: 4.64 mi.

Trip stats:

miles hiked: 19.28
frogs in the bathroom: 1
tents brought:3.5
surfboards brought: 0
boy scout stick battles witnessed: ~30
how far we made it through Bryan's ridiculous drinking game: all the way
jokes made about Dave's pack: plenty(?)

Elevation graph. (Things got kinda purple around 10.5...)