Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Introducing myself to Mt. Vision

Thanks to a generous gift from my inlaws I spent Sunday night by myself in a Point Reyes cabin. I had intended to hike nice long treks Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, but the rains were so heavy that I only achieved short hikes both days. During a break in the storms I hiked 2 miles at Tomales Point and about 1 1/2 miles up on Mount Vision/Point Reyes Hill.

Tomales Point Trail was soggy and the surrounding hillsides were very lush and green. Wildflowers which usually carpet the grassland in mid to late April were almost completely absent. No great patches of goldenfields near the Pierce Point Road overlook or along the trail near Windy Gap. Maybe they will pop up if it ever stops raining, or maybe this is just not going to be a good year for wildflowers at Point Reyes. I didn't get to Chimney Rock, the other usual flower haunt -- anyone else been there in the past week or so?

I'd never been on Mt. Vision Road or hiked around Point Reyes Hill before and I was happy to explore this area (read a bit about the 1995 Mt. Vision fire here) . Mt. Vision Road is a one-lane dead-end lane that winds uphill from Sir Francis Drake, ascending through gorgeous pine woods and coastal scrub. The (accessible) road ends at a gated large dirt parking pullout; from there hikers or cyclists can continue uphill on pavement to a hill topped with an FAA beacon. The paved road/trail ends at the FAA site, then drops to the south on a narrow path (as Inverness Ridge Trail). Combining Inverness Ridge Trail with Drake's View Trail, Muddy Hollow Road, and Bucklin Trail looks like a great nearly 8 mile mile dayhike, with a drop of over 1000 feet to be regained ascending back to the trailhead (a slight variation of this loop that starts from the Bayview trailhead on Limantour Road could ease the grunt since the last 2 miles of the loop back to the parking area is downhill). On Monday I only made it a bit past the FAA beacon, but on the hike I admired the views both to the east and west. Obviously the ridge gets a ton of fog moisture -- check out the lichen on top of lichen (or is the dark green stuff moss?) growing on coyote brush.

Even if you don't care to hike the area, Mt. Vision Road is a great short drive, with great views along the road and from a parking pullout where you can stop and enjoy the vista, encompassing the beaches off to the west, Chimney Rock and lighthouse area, as well as Drakes Estero.

I look forward to returning!


Anonymous said...

I hiked the Muddy Hollow - Glenbrook - Estero loop today (4/15). Great hike! I wonder why the trails can be so soggy at Pt. Reyes. Is it because the groundwater is so close to surface? Nonporous ground? Something else?

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You are so lucky to visit such place in your age its my dream to get there but unfortunately I cant, by the way I'm happy for you.