Hiking at Pt. Reyes National Seashore and Camping in Samuel P. Taylor State Park

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Fun map at store in Olema

On Tuesday Tish and I woke up in San Francisco (okay, actually it was Castro Valley, but we were staying there because we had a few errands to run in the City and around the bay….so…forgive me) and drove to Point Reyes National Seashore for a long hike followed by a night in our new tent in Samuel P. Taylor State Park.  We left a bit late to miss commuter traffic and got to the adorable little town of Olema around 10:15 and stopped at the store to have a cup of coffee and cappuccino before getting on the trail. We oogled over their delicious-looking ice cream cones and dreamed of how great they would taste after our long hike. After our coffee break we headed out on the Bear Valley Trail. IMG_3738

This area of Pt. Reyes is a lot of open meadow and mixed-use trails. It is not unusual to see a horse pass you by after a mountain bike! After .8 miles we turned onto Meadow Trail and began our hike up and out to the Coast Trail which is up on the bluff above the beautiful Pacific Ocean. 1.6 miles up the Meadow Trail, we turned onto Sky Trail for a short .8 and then finished our climb on Woodward Valley Trail.  After a fairly modest climb, we made it out of the woods (see what I did there) just in time to see the full coast line before it was socked in with fog. We took some fun photos and basked in the ocean breeze, which was welcomed after the short, but occasionally steep haul up.
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Tish’s first banana slug!

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We were only on the Coast Trail for about 5-10 minutes before the fog rolled in and stole our ocean view, but we embraced the cloud cover for its protection from the sun. Around 2 miles down the Coast Trail we made it to our halfway point of the hike and stopped to eat some lunch: homemade smoked salmon (thanks Dad!!), avocado, dark chocolate. I was in need as my energy level had dropped and I was getting a “little bit” cranky 🙂 Usually food does the trick and replenishes my energy and mojo, but for some reason this meal just made me even more tired. It might have been the black pepper on the salmon (thanks Dad!!…haha) which I recently found out I am allergic to. Either way, I was ready to lay down in the middle of the trail and take a nap. Fortunately, only half a mile or so down the trail we found a swing!!! This was greatest discovery of the trip for me, I jumped on that thing and immediately felt revived. After a few minutes of fun, and with my newly found energy we turned up Sky Trail and headed back up and over the ridge.

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Fogged in on the way back

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We were only on Sky Trail for 1.5 miles and then decided to take the less-traveled Baldy Trail back to Bear Valley Trail to complete our 14 mile loop. If we had to do it again (which we will), we’d continue on Sky Trail; I’m glad we saw Baldy but have no desire to hike it again, and minimizing our time on Bear Valley which is essentially a gravel road would be a lot more preferable as well. But…now we know for next time!

After the hike we drove back to the fun store in Olema, grabbed a cider and some local cheese (decided to pass on the ice cream), and then headed to our campsite at Camp TaylorCamp Taylor is extremely well-maintained, with lots of private and semi-private sites. It is apparently very popular, as demonstrated by the “Campground Full” sign at the entrance….but luckily Tish and I planned ahead and made reservations a couple weeks in advance, which we never do. Our site was surrounded by gorgeous Redwoods and was very peaceful despite the campground being full. We relaxed with a cider and figured out how to put our new tent together. Tish started the fire while I cooked dinner, then we made s’mores and then cozied up in our mummy bags to read before sleeping. It was a wonderful day/night on the coast, we canIMG_3806‘t wait to get back!
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For anyone looking for a rewarding hike in the area, you can find the trail map here.

Our Hike Breakdown:
Start at Bear Valley Trailhead – .8 miles
Right on Meadow Trail – 1.6 miles
Left on Sky Trail – .8 miles
Right on Woodward Valley – 2 miles
Left on Coast Trail – 3 miles
Left on Sky Trail – 1.5 miles
Right on Baldy – 1.1 miles
Left on Bear Valley Trail back to car – 3.1
Elevation gain: approx. 1,880 ft. total

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