Camino Training Hikes

Montara State Park Hike

November 19, 2014

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and I’m annoyed. I am annoyed and I am cursing. Cursing my alarm clock for waking me from a sound slumber. Cursing my friend Matt for suggesting we meet at 6 this morning. Most of all, cursing myself for agreeing to meet so early on a weekend morning to go for a hike. I mean, really?!?

Little do we know this is just a tiny preview of what is to come…

I hit “snooze” and doze for 30 minutes before the darn thing goes off again, and with a groan, I haul myself out of bed. Little Boy, my cat, makes an annoyed sound as I disturb his pristine sleep and I glance at him with envy. Sighing, I get ready for my day.

Matty arrives 40 minutes later and I run downstairs to take the recycling out and get my sunglasses out of my car. As soon I step out of my apartment building, I notice the lovely “morning twilight” sky. Immediately I am reminded of why I made a point most days I was walking the Camino de Santiago in June and August to arise by 5:30 and start walking by 6…

I love the dawn. I love the sunrise. I love photographing both.

Again, lovely but nothing compared to what we are about to see…

Beginning to feel excited, I dash upstairs to grab my stuff and Matt and I head out into the day. Maybe two minutes into driving, I ask Matt to pull over so I can photograph the sky again, which he happily does as he, too,  is a big fan of pulling over to take photos. (Little do either of us know that our tendency to do this will result in turning what should be a 45 minute drive into a two-hour drive…)

After driving about five more minutes, we notice that sky is becoming a deep, brilliant red so instead of getting onto the freeway, we pass under it and head to a spot right at the edge of Richardson Bay….

..and find ourselves completely blown away. The sky is indescribable. We are awestruck. We climb enter a “no trespassing” area to get as close as we can to the water, to the sky, to the glory that is almost beyond comprehension.

We spend the next twenty to thirty minutes taking photos and just enjoying the breathtaking vista as it becomes ever more fiery…
And then, as the sun rises higher into the sky, more cobalt blue sneaks into the vision…
Finally, we pull ourselves away and get on the freeway.
But five minutes later, as we are about to leave Marin, Matt asks if I want to pull off into the headlands to see the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Um, of course I do!!!
And so we are treated to yet more spectacular views…

Finally, we get back on the road and head to Montara State Beach. After a few wrong turns, and a stop at Starbuck’s, we make it to the Grey Whale Cove Beach parking lot and begin our eleven mile, 2300 foot elevation gain hike

I immediately thought of my friend, Pilgrim Nev, who is currently on a peace
walk in Thailand, when Matt pointed out this natural peace sign on the edge
of the trail.
Matt and I have known each other for about 26 years. He was one of MY “trail angels” last spring, helping me train for the

Camino de Santiago by planning and going on long, challenging hikes with me.

Top of the world, with San Francisco (Outer Sunset) in the background


Ghost Rider. Reminds me of my biking days on Mt. Tam with Steph.


Pacifica in the foreground. Outer Sunset district of San Francisco in the middleground.
Mt. Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands in the background (with Pt. Reyes off to the left).
Famous Highway 1 in the background
We head back to Marin with thoughts of sustenance from Joe’s Taco Lounge on our minds. When we finally get our meal, it does not disappoint…
Oops, so excited by the chips, guac, and salsa that I forgot to photograph the meal…


I love this place.
Stay tuned for photos of our next hike (which could be as early as next Sunday!)

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  • Camino Nev November 20, 2014 at 19:45

    Awesome photos Elissa. Enjoy your walk on Sunday!

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