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Mount Tam, Muir Woods, Stinson Beach – California

Galentine’s Weekend Part II: Mt. Tam/Muir Woods + Beach/Stinson Beach

This post is Part II of a three-part series on Sarah and Mel’s adventures in the San Francisco Bay area the weekend of February 14-17, 2014. You should definitely read Part I and Part III.

On Saturday afternoon of our Galentine’s weekend, after the chicest of urban brunches in the city, Mel and I set off to experience a prime slice of Bay Area nature: Mt. Tamapais, aka Mt. Tam, before we set off to Berkeley to crash with Delaney pre-Sonoma trip.

Or, at least, we attempted to do so, until we ran into the very definition of Bay Area nature: fog.

Mount Tam

Seriously, that fog was so thick we couldn’t see 10 feet ahead of us as we drove up the mountain. Mt. Tam provides the best views of the San Francisco Bay, but by the time we got to the trailhead, we could barely see our hands in front of our faces. Only when we stopped for a bathroom break did we see that we were actually inside a cloud. Obviously, both Mel and I thought this was pretty cool, so we had to pull over and get out of the car to look around a little bit.

Also, I had to use the bathroom, and my only option was what we later dubbed The Outhouse at the Edge of the World.

Mount Tam

We relieved ourselves without falling into oblivion, then set off down the mountain, taking a detour in Muir Woods….which had no parking, since all state parks were free that Saturday. Much as we both loved the enthusiasm Californians showed about being out in nature, it was kind of annoying, so we settled on driving around a bit, then hitting the Muir Beach Overlook and Stinson Beach before setting off to Berkeley.

It is a damn good thing Muir Beach Overlook gives you views like this – it made my very first experience with carsickness on the windy roads leading there worth it.

Mount Tam

I mean seriously, it nearly made me cry a little bit just to see the coastline I had visited so often as a kid, and looking as good and unspoiled and misty as it ever did. Yes, inspired unintentional rhymes, it was that pretty.

Lord, it was windy though, and Mel made sure to chronicle that fact. But do I even look like I care?

Mount Tam

“Enough of that redhead,” you might be saying by now. “Where’s that smart, athletic, gorgeous brunette that’s been taking all the pictures?” Well, it wasn’t until we got to Stinson Beach, all the way down the mountain and up the coast a ways, that Mel finally allowed herself in front of the camera.

The results, as you can see, were beautiful.

Mount Tam
Mount Tam

Stinson was cold, but I walked barefoot through the frigid wet sand and waves anyway, because I missed the Pacific Ocean that much. Don’t say I never do anything for you, Pacific Ocean.

Mount Tam
Mount Tam
Mount Tam

We found whole sand dollars (and didn’t spend them all in one place, yuk yuk).

We even found time to illustrate our deep bond of friendship in the sand.

Mount Tam

And so, on that perfect image, we left the misty moisty Stinson Beach and drove, still slightly sandy, to Berkeley.

Which, by the way, houses one of my other favorite things about California: Amoeba Music.

Ahh, nostalgia.

Words by Sarah Flocken, Photography by Melanie Craxton
Follow Sarah on Twitter at @sflocken
Follow Melanie on Instagram at @mcraxton