Self Bargain: If You Work, You Can Play.

Today’s self-bargaining (actually, this week’s self-bargaining): Afternoon Adventure Times in Marin.

I’ve been slowly starting to explore the North Bay area, which is a playground of well-maintained trails that are all inter-connected. It’s a bit of a trek to get up there (well, it’s not that bad… but it’s enough where it requires a small amount of forethought and extra hours), so I’ve been reserving it to days where I can properly fit it in. On Monday, when I realized I was going to likely be working late nights and early mornings this week, I decided to enter operation ‘Get Shit Done’ mode with the promise that I could cross the bridge and go play on Friday afternoon.

Dipsea fog. And redwoods.

After a bit of an overwhelming half hour or so of sitting at my computer trying to map out where I actually wanted to go (a combination of too much to choose/lack of adequate maps to really look at/unfamiliarity), I picked Muir Woods, mostly because it’s one of those places that everyone outside of California who visits SF seems to know about, it supposedly has awesome trees, and while I’ve cycled by, I haven’t been there.

I parked up above the actual park entrance on Panoramic Highway by one of the entrances to the Dipsea Trail (after a typical-Tara-style move of missing where I’d preplanned to park and wasting a good 40 minutes trying to backtrack), which meant a fun downhill start that quickly turned into a solid uphill slog (and I mean SLOG). I knew the Dipsea Trail has steps (lots of steps), but I didn’t quite appreciate that. (I also really need to learn to read elevation maps properly, but that’s another separate issue.)

Anyway. Despite picking probably the crummiest weather day for Adventure Times (but crummy is relative), and slogging uphill for a few miles in drizzle and fog, it was still gorgeous in a lush, green, eerie way.


At this point though, I was probably only 3 miles in (and about 40-some minutes into actually setting out, thanks to navigation/photo stops/ALL THE UPHILL), and I was starting to go into mental meltdown… and then I wiped out, in a fantastic wipe out skinned knee/break the fall with hands/rock flies up under my sunglasses (hey, I was being optimistic there was sun somewhere) and onto my eye/blood down my leg fashion.

And so I hrmphed for a few minutes and felt sorry for myself and then kicked my butt back into gear with some not-so-kind words, and carried on.

The uphill finally ended in a peak of fog, but lo and behold there was a water fountain (praise hands), and I could see my next trail was in fact downhill, and suddenly things were a whole lot better.


I thoroughly enjoyed the rest – I ended up on single-track trails through the woods, and I could actually half-run (when I wasn’t trying not to fall again, because it would’ve meant falling down steep drop-offs), and it was much more of an adventure of climbing over downed trees and hopping over creeks and zigzagging around trees in the middle of the trail.

I ended up at 9.5mi total (with 2100ft of elevation) and then wandered around for a bit, and now that I’m back home and cleaned up and the endorphins have long ago subsided, I’m admiring the 4-inch bruise on my hip, bruise and scrape on my palm (I didn’t realize you could bruise your palm?) and gashes on my knee. Battle wounds?

Stairs upon stairs upon stairs.

Anyway – solid Adventure Times. I’ll definitely go back – I loved the middle part of the route, and there are other areas I can get to in that section.

Ugh, so much exploring. So little time.


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