By the Brother:
As I drive the last mile or so to the Alamere Falls trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore, my little car dances back and forth around potholes in the dirt road. Some are too big to avoid and I have to drive at a crawl to make it through. I meet Monica and some friends at the starting point and off we go. We look at the map and decide not to take a picture of it for reference. Within the first hundred yards we see some big white calla lilies blooming under the shade of trees that I do not have a name for. As we make our way through the unidentified tree section, the path opens up along the cliffs with views of the coast. The sun is visible and heading west. Our sweaters and jackets are removed as the ball of fire warms our backs.
It’s the beginning of spring and after some heavy rain from the passing winter, all the vegetation is lush and shining bright. The poison oak is thick along the path and its oily leaves are glowing with a mixture of red and orange. Ferns cover much of the ground. The sea is in the air and the energy is full of positive vibes as we laugh, tell stories, and share about our aspirations and what lies ahead in our lives with the possibilities of following our passions. We chat about relationships and why I may be cursed with dating issues. I think, ‘If I’m called awkward one more time!’ Haha
Anywhoo…back to the adventure.
Without knowing it, we pass the trail that branches off and leads right to the falls and make our way to Wildcat campground which makes the journey a couple of miles longer. This turns out to be well worth it as we eventually make it to a lookout with amazing coastal views before descending down to the campground area. Wildcat is next the shore and from there we walk the beach back to the falls. As we casually stroll along, the waves touch my feet soaking a shoe and the water is cold! I grab a couple of interesting rocks along the way to share with my son later when I see him.
By the time we make it to our destination, a crowd has formed at the base of the falls as fresh water connects with the salty version. Apparently other people snapped a photo of the map in the beginning and found their way down the other trail. There’s a single file line coming down the last bit of path that is steep and curving in and out of the hillside. People wait patiently on the beach to start the climb up as others slowly crawl down. Our friend starts cracking up visualizing a line of people similar to one that you would see at an amusement park to get on a ride. Some are walking with music blasting, which I find challenging to understand. If I were to hear a commercial in this setting, I’d probably lose it. Not really, it’s whatever toots their horn. It’s nice to see so many people out enjoying the flow.
After a delicious lunch of precooked veggies and crackers dipped in tuna that Monica prepared, we soak up the sounds and sites of the liquid motion while recharging our batteries. The lunch bag of pb&j sandwiches that I forgot in my car will have to be a snack for later. After some time relaxing on rocks and a patch of sand, we pack and get ready for our climb. This time we trek back up via the amusement park way. There is still a long line of people waiting to get down. After some scrambling and maneuvering past bodies, we make our way back to the main trail while more and more folks walk the opposite direction for their time at the falls. When we connect back to the main path ducking through some brush, we look back and laugh. No wonder we missed it! The entry seems no bigger than a fox hole.
I have some solo time on the way back to simply be and connect a little with my surroundings. Vibrant orange poppies coat certain hillsides and birds are busy with bird stuff. My pace increases as my endorphins kick in and I feel energized! I even break into a run for a few yards, though this is to find a place to relieve myself without being seen. Whatever stress that was on my plate prior to our hike is no longer with me. That is one of the reasons that I love to get out and explore. To get the body moving and the mind cruising. I’m filled with gratitude to be alive and focused on a single breath. Wherever my life has been, has led me to this very spot. Something must be right to have the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful place.
I’m not sure if I really want to give away any tips because I enjoy being one of few early birds to get the day started. But, to enjoy this great hike without a herd of people, start EARLY. Holy crap, I can’t believe how many cars are parked for miles back out from the main parking area. People are hiking miles looking exhausted before even starting the actual hike! There’s a traffic jam and one car was hit by another, kind of crazy. Doesn’t matter though, morning or afternoon, close parking or parking next to the freeway, it’s totally worth the effort.
Oh, and don’t forget your sandwiches!