June 09, 2012

A Perfect Day in California

This Friday turned out to be one of those perfect days. Sky woke up early and joined a team of local road bikers for a 40 mile ride from Larkspur (the town we're currently in), to the beach, along highway 1, and then back through the mountains. He woke up at 5 am, excited to ride. He hadn't ridden on his road bike since Fredericksburg, and that was ages ago. While he rode, I slept in.

After breakfast we packed up the pups and drove down very pretty and winding roads through redwood groves to a local freshwater lake, Alpine Lake. We'd heard that the Cataract Falls Trail was supposed to be nice after a hard rain (ha, what hard rain in California?), and since it had sprinkled on Monday, we figured it was a good time to go.

Alpine Lake
Alpine Lake is in the Marin County Watershed, meaning it is the water supply for the county, and there is no swimming in the lake. What this also means is that this lake is pristine; it was almost as bright blue as Lake Tahoe. The Cataract trail head is on Bolinas Rd, at a hairpin turn in the road, right at the edge of the lake. There is virtually no parking there, you have to squeeze your ride into the bushes along the road.

Cataract Falls Trail Head
True to their legend, the waterfalls were flowing. The trail slowly climbs into the canyon, away from Alpine Lake. You hike in the shadow of towering redwood trees, next to massive fern plants, and the creeks bubbles alongside. We hiked 2 miles up into the canyon; there the trail left the tight forest and opened up to wide flower meadows. Another mile of trail leads you to the end, where the coast opens up and you get views of San Fran in the distance. We saw so many people out hiking and running, it was glorious.

Hiking among the redwoods and huge ferns
Cataract Falls
The end of the trail, views of San Fran
We hiked the trail round-trip, jumped in our car and drove down to Stinson Beach. We picked up a picnic lunch at the local grocery market; we got local fresh milk and yogurt, freshly baked bread and salami that's made in San Francisco. It was yummy. Chloe and Sammy chilled on the blanket with us while we ate, and then we walked up and down the beach with Chloe. (Sammy stayed behind in the truck, the ocean beach is not really his thing) Chloe went wild on the waves again, and swallowed way too much sea water, but had tons of fun running around chasing sticks with Sky.

Our picnic on the beach
Stinson Beach
Chloe going crazy on the beach
I couldn't have asked for a better day. This is what California is all about, in my opinion.

For more pictures of the day, click here.

Happy Friday Afternoon,


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