Let There Be Light! Hike

  • March 9, 2014 · 12:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Before they lower me in a box, I'd like to see the end of two archaic remnants from yesteryear: the Electoral College; and Daylight Standard Time.

But let's take joy where we can, shall we? Daylight Savings Time begins on March 9, when the sun doesn't set until 7:10 p.m. And we'll be drinking beer on the deck of the Parkside Cafe, in the shadow of awe-inspiring Mt. Tam, when it does.

It's our first Sunday hike since Oct. 27 ... with many more to follow as the psychological burden of the short days fades to black.

And, for what it's worth, nobody will be lowering me in a box. I'm going out in a cloud of ashes ... scattered over Mt. Tam.

                                                    -------

Wow. This hike took just 26 minutes to reach its 33-Trustee max -- shaving a minute off our previous-fastest time. If you find yourself on our Waiting List, read this to pass the time

THE STATS

LENGTH: 7.0 miles (round trip)

VERTICAL GAIN: 1,419 feet.

TYPE OF HIKE: Loop, entirely on single-track trails.

PLANNED STOPS: 25-minute lunch stop at Pan Toll Ranger Station picnic area after 3-mile ascent; short stop at Table Rock, overhanging Stinson Beach, in final half-hour of hike.

TIME ESTIMATE (WITH STOPS): 4 hours.

RESTROOMS: At Pan Toll.

THE DRIVE

Take Highway 1/Stinson Beach exit off 101 and -- you guessed it -- follow Highway 1 to Stinson Beach. The Fire Station is the very first thing you'll see, on the right, when you get into town. Park on Belvedere Ave. if you can -- but anywhere in town will do. Give yourself 45 minutes from the 101 exit -- Highway 1 to Stinson Beach is a crowded, serpentine route on weekends. And parking is a ... beach.

THE HIKE

If we took a poll of everybody's favorite hike among the first 33 in Circle history, I'd bet the farm that we'd have a neck-and-neck race between the Steep Ravine-Matt Davis loop on Mt. Tamalpais and the slopes of Purisma Creek Redwoods above Half Moon Bay.

From the Dipsea Trail's origin at Highway 1, we'll climb quickly through the woods to an altitude of 500 feet and a stellar view of crescent-shaped Stinson Beach floating between the ocean and a tidal basin.

A few rolling hills later, we'll move into the foliage and come upon The Bridge of Decisions, where we'll whip out the playing cards and let fate dictate your route.

A red card sends you across the bridge to continue on Dipsea, where you'll be greeted by a series of lung-expanding stairs leading into a tranquility-inducing forest of pines and redwoods. The trail flattens out for a sunny stroll overlooking a picturesque valley. At the Coastal Fire Road, Dipsea continues onward toward Mill Valley, but we'll veer onto Old Mine Trail for the final surge uphill.

A black card means you'll be heading up Steep Ravine, where the terrain starts to look like a Spielberg movie set: primordial fronds; steps etched into the sides of cliffs; and fallen redwoods spanning creek gulches. Halfway up is Steep Ravine's signature entity: a ladder rising beside Webb Creek's waterfall. The uphill trek concludes in a series of fenced switchbacks, one piled atop the other.

Our two groups will only be separated for about an hour -- we'll re-connect at Pan Toll, where Panoramic Highway tops out and a half-dozen trails converge around a ranger station. Pat yourself on the back (or wherever you like to pat yourself) -- the climb is over!

After a lunch break, we'll jump across Panoramic Highway and pick up Matt Davis Trail. The next two miles are a relatively flat trek that alternatives between forests and meadows, one of which offers a stirring view of downtown San Francisco and Ocean Beach (unless fog dictates otherwise). From up here, you can often see the Farallon islands, 23 miles to the west.

Virtually all of the downhill takes place in the final two miles of the hike, when the trail dips into a forest of Douglas fir, laurel, buckeye, and oak while edging closer to Table Rock Creek. As the sounds of the ocean begin to filter through, we'll come to Table Rock (pictured above). Check out the ant-sized humans scrambling over Stinson Beach, 600 feet below.

The trail deposits us back on Belvedere Ave., just up the street from our meetup spot at the firehouse.

Then it's on to ...

THE BEER

Wedged between Highway 1 and the ocean, the cleverly named Parkside Cafe (it's beside a park!) doesn't even both with a web site. So here's their Yelp PageThere's a solid selection of beer, decent grub and a deck with an awesome view of the mountain that we just dominated.

Who's In?


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  • Lili J.

    Great hike, great people, great day!

    1 · March 11, 2014

  • Lloyd P.

    I biased - but I've seen the amount of thought, work, and passion my bud Brian suffers each event for the enjoyment of all. Don't miss out!

    1 · March 11, 2014

  • Brian H.

    Glad y'all dug it! It would be awesome if those of you who posted comments about the hike -- or those of you who have yet to -- would also post them in GROUP REVIEWS!

    March 11, 2014

  • RaeAnn

    One of my favorite hikes. Stunning scenery, great people, yummy beer! Thanks Brian!

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Randy P.

    Super phun! Great weather, fantastic scenery, wonderful people, great beer and eats. So nice to sit outside for beer again!

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • colleen n.

    Definitely. Loved our time at the beach too. What a gorgeous sunset! :)

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Kristine

    excellent hike!

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • Atina

    Agree, fantastic hike!!

    1 · March 10, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike! The sunset was all kinds of shades of blue, gray, and orange, even pink at times...wow. The water was cold but invigorating... Lol

    1 · March 9, 2014

  • Linda

    Best yet.

    1 · March 9, 2014

  • Ed W

    Great group of folks, some great views, and I was not devoured by a mountain lion. Brian, thanks for letting me join in, looking forward to future hikes with the team. Will check the calendar and let you know.

    March 9, 2014

  • Brian H.

    If anybody needs to play catch-up today: From the Stinson Beach Fire House, walk south on Highway 1 for 100 feet -- take stairs to Dipsea Trail and follow for 1 mile. DO NOT cross bridge -- you're now on Steep Ravine. Follow for 2 miles uphill to Pan Toll picnic area, where we'll be having lunch.

    March 9, 2014

  • L

    Arrrgh. Car not starting. Looks like I won't be able to make it in time. Sorry Brian

    March 9, 2014

  • Robert

    Get to El Cerrito Del Norte Bart,If you want to hitch a ride.
    Leaving 10:45.
    Txt me[masked]

    March 8, 2014

  • Atina

    Joining the carpool emails, anyone want to carpool from the South Bay? Meet anywhere between San Jose & Palo Alto...

    February 24, 2014

    • Kristine

      I'm super late jumping in. I'm in rwc, is there any room anywhere? I'll think thin to take up minimal space....

      March 8, 2014

    • Susan H

      I just emailed you, shoot me an email and we'll figure it out

      March 8, 2014

  • Rebecca

    It's really frustrating getting all these updates for carpooling when you are still on the wait list. All these people rubbing it in!! :) Just saying :)

    March 7, 2014

  • Dale E.

    Bummed I can't make it. A family member is in dire straits and needs help moving.

    March 6, 2014

    • Brian H.

      You have a family member in Dire Straits? Is it Mark Knopfler? Can you score backstage passes?

      March 7, 2014

  • Brian H.

    PLEASE remember to set your clocks AHEAD an hour or Saturday - the hike starts at Noon PDT, or the old 11 a.m. Also, this will answer all of your weather-related questions: http://www.meetup.com/BeerHike/messages/boards/thread/42453242

    March 7, 2014

  • Ed W

    Rookie boy Ed is driving starting in Inner Richmond. If you behave yourself and don't moon passing drivers I might be able to offer you a ride to/from Stinson Beach.

    March 6, 2014

    • Ed W

      Not to generate unnecessary hate mail from the anti-oil lobby, but, Randy, could I jump a ride with you if you are coming via Park Presidio to the GGB? Happy to split commute costs. I will behave -except- for mocking the driving habits of Marin suburbanites.

      March 7, 2014

    • Brian H.

      I love a good soap opera.

      March 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any shot of getting let in at this point?

    March 7, 2014

  • Amy

    so sad I can't make it. I was #120 on the wait list and never thought I'd get in so I made other plans :-( have fun!!! Hope to meet you all on the next hike! Amy

    March 6, 2014

    • Brian H.

      This sound like my cue to roll out The Circle of Trust & Beer's updated motto: CLIMB. DESCEND. DRINK WAIT.

      March 6, 2014

  • Eric

    Im gonna be there...but if im not its because Y & T melted my face....

    March 4, 2014

    • Brian H.

      Even if your face melts, as Y & T would say, it's On With the Show.

      March 4, 2014

    • Eric

      True true....as motley reiterated!....

      March 4, 2014

  • Janelle

    Alright Cristina, I am bailing quick take the spot!

    March 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    LET ME IN !!!!

    February 28, 2014

    • Brian H.

      And deny myself the pleasure of watching your squirm?

      1 · February 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Squirming ....

      1 · March 4, 2014

  • Drew

    Sorry to miss this one, but I won't be back in time. I agree with Brian about the source of the DDoS attacks on Meetup ;-)

    March 3, 2014

  • Janelle

    I in the same boat as Ed ... Looking for a carpool. It is easy for me to meet along the park presedio corridor in SF.

    February 24, 2014

  • Ed W

    Excited to do my first hike with this group! I look forward to "parking" my rear end at a point where there is a lovely view. Since a newbie, may I ask if folks do car pools, possibly from SF I could join in on? Would be happy to chip in for gas and the GGB toll. Happy Monday!

    February 24, 2014

  • Janelle

    Dang another group I have to watch like a hawk for ;)

    February 18, 2014

  • MJ

    God damn, I'm losing my touch (click?). 31st to RSVP? 30 spots gone in the last 26 minutes. I knew I should've RSVPd instead of going to lunch. Rookie mistake.

    1 · February 18, 2014

  • Monique

    Wish I could make it, but I'm driving out to CO again. Have fun!!

    February 18, 2014

37 went

  • Brian H.
    83-HIKE VETERAN/25 Semi-Circles, Organizer
    Event Host
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  • diane
    29-HIKE VETERAN/6 Semi-Circles (PBR: 7)
  • colleen n.
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  • Eric
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  • Linda
    25-HIKE VETERAN/5 Semi-Circles (PBR: 17)
  • James
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  • Ed W
    THREE-PEATER (1 Semi-Circle)
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