ESCAPE to Alamere Falls 2017

A hike in Point Reyes to a magical waterfall right on the beach…

For the 17th year in a row, the ESCAPE Club made its annual venture up the California coast to Point Reyes, and hiked to Alamere Falls. But we’re really reconsidering an 18th trip. Once again, we are encouraged to see beautiful places outside growing in popularity. However, as we are already a large group, it is becoming more logistically difficult to enjoy this hike the way we once did.

Nevertheless, we pressed on with the hike, because after all, it is probably the most magical spot in the Bay Area. (Don’t tell anyone!) It’s a longer hike now–probably closer to eight miles round trip–since we have to park so far from the trailhead, and there aren’t nearly enough bathrooms in the parking lot! It looks like more may be being built, and they are advertising for trail docents, so something is being done about the increased popularity.

We crouched through the brambly short cut near the falls, leapt (or waded) across the stream, and scrambled down the cliff to the falls. Unfortunately, it was the peak of a high tide, so the beach itself was pretty narrow, with the seawater coming all the way up to the falls at times.  We splashed in the falls, played in the sand, and even spotted harbor seals and a few dolphins out in the distance.

The weather was warm enough to get in the falls, but cool enough so we didn’t suffer from heat on the hike back.  There weren’t as many wildflowers as we hoped to see, but the hike and views were beautiful as ever. Everyone made it the whole way, despite some minor discomfort.  We were proud of our accomplishment.  

As has become our custom, we enjoyed tamales back at the cars, with some cold drinks.  We were watched by a pair of gray foxes that have taken up residence in the parking lot, hoping for some scraps!  And we enjoyed a quick, impromptu tug of war before it was time for the drive home.

Yosemite, here we come!


ESCAPE to Elkhorn Slough 2017

ESCAPE to Elkhorn Slough

Kayaking among the sea otters and harbor seals…

Some of you may remember that a while back, we were awarded a three-year grant to go kayaking.  After a ton of haggling and wrestling paperwork, we were finally able to make the trip happen in March!  

About 40 of us arrived in Moss Landing (halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey) at Elkhorn Slough on a cool, foggy morning. The kayaking company offers wetsuits and raingear, for any who wish to borrow.  And of course we all wear life jackets.  After a brief training session, we paddled out onto the water.  

Paddling upstream into the slough was challenging, but not impossible.  There was some choppiness near the outlet to the bay, and the current was headed out, so kids (especially the smaller ones) had to work hard.  And by the time we got going, the sun had come out, giving us a great day to be on the water.

We got to see lots of wildlife up close–several sea otters (one with a baby!), lots of harbor seals, and shore birds.  We paddled about a mile into the slough, and then rode the current back to the harbor.  We were grateful for the weather, and the experience.  And none of the kids fell in!

On our way home, we stopped to splash on the beach in Santa Cruz at Natural Bridges.  The sun was bright and warm, and the water calm and cool.  I think there were a thousand people on that little beach.  It was so hard to leave, but we faced 2+ hours of traffic getting home, so we pulled ourselves away.

As the end of the year approaches, we’re preparing for Alamere Falls and camping in Yosemite.  Let us know if you’re coming!



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