Mt. St. Helena and Marin Headlands, a quick catchup

Mt. St. Helena and Marin Headlands, a quick catchup

I promised this earlier but I’ve been so busy with the training & fundraising… at least that’s my excuse. While I may not have been updating the blog regularly, I was still training, I swear. Here’s a quick recap of my last two major hikes before I make a post about yesterday’s uber hike (with photos to prove I really have been working hard, I swear!).

Aug. 9: Mt. St. Helena

Two weeks ago, I missed the team hike because of a friend’s wedding in St. Helena in wine country. But I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of my training. Since I missed the 6.5 hour team hike in Redwood Regional Park, I set my sights on doing a summit of Mt. St. Helena that Sunday after the wedding, which my hike book listed as a 6-hour strenuous hike. Seemed like a fairly good match. Markkus, thankfully, was a good sport about it and came along, despite the exposed fire road trail in the 96 degree hot sun and the lack of any reason whatsoever for him to be doing a hike that big. In the end, the guide book was wrong – it took as 2-hours to get to the top where we hung out for awhile before heading back down. All told the hike was just a little over 4 hours. On the plus side, the hike to the top was steady uphill with only one very small spot of down as we cut across a little valley before more strenous up to the top of the North Peak. So it was definitely a good workout.

I loved this hike which was part of the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The trail itself was a fire road, so not exciting, but the view from the top at 4,300+ feet above Napa & Sonoma Valley’s was spectacular as the photos below show. I *loved* it. And we were practically the only people on the trail.

Park sidenote: This park is listed as one of the least visited state parks according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which means it is a likely candidate for closure. This makes me unbelievably sad/angry. I would have gladly paid an entrance fee for such a great experience (this is one of the many parks without any sort of entrance fee/parking fee). Find out more about how you can have a voice in the fight to save our state parks on the California State Parks Foundation Web site. There’s an announcement planned for Labor Day weekend when we’ll know more about what closures will actually happen, and when.

On to the photos…

Markkus atop the mountain.

Me, too.

My dust-covered chameleon boots blend in with the rocks beneath my feet.

Wandering around the North Peak of Mt. St. Helena

On the edge of the mountain, or so it seems.

My pack dries out after the sweaty uphill hike.

Turkey vultures circle and land on top of one of the radio towers on Mt. St. Helena.

Heading back down the mountain, this is a look back toward the north peak (which is actually around the bend behind the peak seen here with Doppler radar tower). You can see the trail we walked through a little valley and then up the side of the mountain.

A panoramic view of wine country as we head down the mountain.

Shade along the pathway. We hiked at a bad time for the heat & sun (started at about 11 a.m.) so seeing shade on the path on the way back was welcome.

Aug. 15: Marin Headlands

The next week was a 4-hour buddy hike, where we hike with our regional group (in my case it’s the San Francisco & North Bay group together). The hike was actually one that started very close to Golden Gate Bridge – a beautiful trail I’d never trekked before that takes you up from the bridge with views of Hwy 1 and the city below, then over the ridge toward the ocean. We also stopped for a bit at the top of Slacker Hill.

Heading toward the ocean with the horse stables just barely visible in the distance.

An old bunker, we think?

Horsies! The purple covered one we decided was dressed for the occasion, being that purple is the color of Team In Training.

Debbie with her new best friend.

Climbing back up to the ridge line.

A view of the Golden Gate bridge from the ridge.

C’est moi.

Wildflowers are still in bloom in the Headlands, unlike the more inland places we hike. Here you can see the highway just in the distance beneath us.

The buddy group: (l-r) Sharon, Debbie, Kate, Ginette, Helen and Louise.

All photos copyright of Johanna Hoadley