All of my wildest dreams
I spent the past weekend hiking. Some of it was on a dried out waterfall, such as this one.
For a long time now I have wanted to lead a wilder life than the one I had. Earlier in my youth, wild meant something else altogether. Today, it means: backpacking, camping, going on long walks in the wilderness, birdwatching, and hiking.
Now that I live in California I have access to tremendously beautiful landscapes, often hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean. Local parks, state parks, national parks and more: there are lots of avenues for weekend exploration. While I didn’t always feel fit enough, or brave enough, to join many of these activities, I’ve finally gotten around to making the most of this access. On foot or by bike, there are lots of outdoorsy options and this past weekend I did my first ever backpacking trip for 2 nights at Wildcat camp in Point Reyes.
I joined a local adventure club that organizes trips and activities and was quickly put into a carpool with one of the organizers. While I didn’t know anyone from the trip, we did a Zoom call to say hello and discuss logistics.
The plan was for us to meet at Bear Valley Vistor Center in Point Reyes on Friday afternoon at noon. The drive from San Francisco’s Marina district took just over 90 minutes, with a last minute Sports Basement Presidio scramble for camping lights and other forgotten items.
We met the other folks at the visitor center, 12 of us in all, where we enjoyed our last moments of Internet and restroom access.
The hike up the Bear Valley trail was not especially brutal, but for most of us this was our first time carrying full backpacks and walking up any amount of elevation. Carrying tents, sleeping bags and stoves, we slowly meandered up the hills of Point Reyes and nearly 3 hours later, made it to camp.
Wildcat camp was reasonably furnished with two clean toilets and a tap.
As quite a few people on the trip remarked, it’s amazing how little you really need until you have to carry it on your back.
We hiked, swam, walked on sand, cooked basic meals on camping stoves, and thankfully nobody got hurt or into any type of accident other than a handful of blisters.
I was lucky to have sought advice from experienced camper friends who told me: do whatever, have fun, but you must have good shoes, good socks, good tents, and a very long spoon.
That advice brought me far. I then supplemented that with more essentials for myself: I brought Indomie, packets of mala fish tofu snacks, Japanese sea urchin cookies (a fave), along with the dire ‘dehydrated backpacker meals’, and had more of a blast than I thought I would.
I’ve now been initiated into a group of outdoorsy folks who have the organizational and logistical expertise to make these weekend trips happen, so I’m excited to finally have consistent outdoors plans in my life. Next up: bikepacking at China Camp.
Maybe one day I’ll write a quick guide to how to do all of this stuff in the Bay Area without a car. It’s time for me to learn how to drive (!!) so I can access more cool spots, but for now, I think I saw a lot of my region without ever knowing how.