Yesterday I finally got to get out and take an all-day jaunt in the world on my own. I’ve been getting out daily for either a walk or a run, which has been helpful in keeping me sane, but I needed a full day to myself, away from Mom and Grandma, and to see the ocean. I didn’t want to spend a month in CA without that. So, I rented a car, loaded up with supplies, and headed to the beach!
At W, suggestion, I had planned to go to Muir Woods, and then on to Pt. Reyes National Seashore, a place I have been to several times and love. Redwoods, beach and solitude, that was prescription for what ailed me. But as they say, the best laid plans…
I did end up at the beach, and I was actually in Muir Woods at one point, even if I didn’t go into the park itself, and even if the beach I went to was Muir Beach rather than Pt. Reyes, but that didn’t diminish the pleasure I took in the day any. I’m a planner, it’s true, but I am also an opportunity-taker, when an opportunity to explore something unplanned comes up.
Or, you know, when I get distracted from “the plan,” by something else.
That is exactly what what happened.
My first distraction happened just past Fairfield. I was trucking along, marveling at recognizing, even after all these years away, all the cities I drove through, and remembering as I started into the hills a dream I used to have in which I wandered hills just like them, stark, dry, brown and empty. They so mirrored my dream that I decided to pull over to take a picture. When I did, I saw this:
The only way up to it was that winding dirt path you can see etched into the hillside, so I didn’t think I could actually get up to it, but I wanted to see if I could get close enough to see what it was.
I never did get close enough to tell what it was, but I got some more pictures of the hills that reminded of my dream:
This should have been a twenty-minute side trip. Unfortunately at that moment my abysmal sense of direction decided to kick in and instead of turning left as I should have, I turned right (I was going by “sense of direction” as opposed to looking at the map) and ended up behind where I’d gotten off the highway in the first place!
Soon enough I was back on my way, though.
Of course, the real vista was quite a bit more…obscured. I could barely see Mt. Tamalpais through the haze and smog.
Thirty minutes later and I was down in that lovely air, and then to the other side, to Mill Valley, where I made another stop, because I realized I had forgotten to pack one very important item: Ad’s length of black rope. (Whatever would I need that for?!) Unfortunately Safeway doesn’t stock bondage supplies, but they did have these:
At long last I was on Hwy 1, winding and twisting my way to Muir Woods and the seashore.
Except, oh wait…something caught my eye as I flew (at 15 mph – those curves are SHARP!) past. A path cut into the hillside:
It was quite a ways past before I could pull off the road and park to walk back up. It was also a lot warmer than I had expected. (I’d brought my down vest and warm weather clothes, assuming it would be cold, wet and windy at the shore.) Perfect hiking – or plodding along the side of a dangerous twisty highway – weather.
On the way back to the car, I happened to see that the path also went down the hill on the other side of the road…
…and into this grove of trees before continuing on to Muir Woods.
This information would come in handy later.
Finally (!) I was on my way again, and five minutes later I arrived at Muir Woods – only to be told that the parking lot was full. I could try roadside parking, though.
There wasn’t a single spot open for at least two miles down the road. I had arrived too late! Apparently Muir Woods was a popular place on a beautiful January Saturday with temperatures in the high 70’s. Whodda thunk? (Duh.) “Best laid plans” and all that, right?
I looked at my dashboard clock, and at the map, and at the traffic that had sprung up out of nowhere on Hwy 1 and did a quick reevaluation of my plan. It was getting late in the afternoon and I wanted to be off Hwy 1 before dark. Although the drive had been fun coming down, I knew that road could be treacherous after dark. So, was the point getting to Pt. Reyes, or was the point getting to the ocean? Muir Beach, which I had never been to, was only a few miles down the road.
So that’s where I headed.
Again, I was not disappointed in my decision. It was beautiful there, even if it wasn’t quite the solitude I had sought.
At least I got my toes wet in the Pacific!
And that was my day away from the…challenges…of my Grandma’s home and caretaking for her.
What’s that? Oh! You want to know what happened in that little copse of trees, and if I ever got “creative”? Well…you’ll just have to wait and see. (Ha! You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)