What goes down must come up
|Gordon Mill Trail|
There's something about Corte Madera (as many cyclists call it) that clouds my judgement. After years of feet-on-the-trails researching I have found reasonably easy hikes at this peninsula preserve (such as this one and this one), but my natural tendency is to hike with my head in the clouds until in a bolt of clarity I realize I have to hike all the way up what I just hiked down. What follows is a steady trudge uphill and a silent promise to remember my mistakes next time.
|Steam Donkey Trail|
This relatively new singletrack is now my favorite Corte Madera trail. Oljon weaves uphill through redwoods, crossing two bridges and ascending via switchbacks. I marveled at a very large (and perhaps half-dead) tanoak on the left near the second bridge. This lovely path skirts a hilltop, relaxes to an easy grade and ends at a junction with Sierra Morena and Gordon Mill trails. From there, it was a pleasant stroll back to the trailhead. Total mileage was about 3.2, but due to Steam Donkey's torment, felt further.
Would I take this loop again? Probably not. Instead, next time I'm thinking of stringing together Sierra Morena, Oljon, Steam Donkey (not the steep part), Gordon Mill, Crossover, Timberline, and Methuselah (finishing on Sierra Morena). But I had a great time, even on Steam Donkey (in retrospect) and am happy to have made the acquaintance of Oljon (which by the way, on the map looks kind of like an elephant head).