In the darkness of Northern California, the fog slithered through the trees as we made our way to Stinson Beach. The head lights split through the night as we lost ourselves in the curves of the tree line. We arrived at the Palomarin Trailhead at 6am with our feet burning to cover some ground. Anthony and I looked at each other as we swung open the car doors in the gravel parking lot. Our feet crunched against the cold hard ground as we packed our bags in the red glow of the break lights. I inhaled the salty breeze as I laced up my hiking boots. The cold air filled my lungs as I tugged the laces until my knuckles gave a light shade of pink. We stuffed our bags to the brim with food, water, and our camera gear, each weighing about fifty pounds. We began our journey and headed towards the dark treelike, our hearts pounding with the same power and stride as the ocean the crashed against the cliffs below us. With every step we would come closer to the anticipated 13 mile hike to Alamere Falls and back.
My fingers grew swollen from exertion and the change in temperature.
The muddy path led us through a hollow coastal forest, cliff sides, and up steep rocky slopes. As the day progressed and the sun rose higher in the sky, we shed our layers one by one. My fingers grew swollen from exertion and the change in temperature. Off came the beanie, the vest, and the jacket, and into my backpack they went. I noticed the dew disappear from the tall grass with each mile further we trekked. From time to time, we stopped to gawk at the endless seascape to our left. We continued on and after about 3 bananas, 2 granola bars, and 5.5 miles, we finally made it to the Wildcat Campground.
We emerged from the never-ending forest and were greeted by the cool breeze of the ocean. I felt completely ridiculous trudging through the white sand in my massive hiking boots. Yet at the same time I thought about how just a couple hours prior, we were traipsing through the damp woods, and how incredible it was to endure different climates on the hike. We had 1 mile of shoreline ahead of us.
[IT was] a place that could only be witnessed by those with an adventurous soul and the luck of the low tide.