Did you light the roman candle at both ends on the Fourth of July? Scream yourself hoarse watching the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday? Feel the need to exorcise (while exercising) some of those demons before heading back to the rat race on Monday (or, in the case of Kelly of Tallac Seven fame, the rat genocide)?
The Circle has your back, slackers. At Bootjack.
Bootjack Picnic Area on Mount Tamalpais, that is, where we'll be gathering at high noon for what what has proven to be one of our most popular, and mellowest, hikes: the easy-graded, conversation-friendly fire roads that cover the top half of Mt. Tam.
For those feeling a bit more ambitious, feel free to join me (Brian) at Stinson Beach at 10 a.m., where we'll begin our trek to cover Mt. Tam holistically, from sea to summit (2,451 feet of vertical en route to the 2,571-foot peak). We'll meet the main group at Bootjack, and transverse the final 1,100 feet of vertical together. Everyone will be ending the hike at Bootjack, meaning those who join me in the summit climb will only be descending halfway down -- from there we'll carpool in any open seats back down to Stinson Beach ... and the beer.
Those who summit from Stinson Beach will be given credit for a Semi-Circle hike.
If you find yourself on our Waiting List, read this to pass the time
LENGTH: 6.8 miles (round trip)/10.0 miles if you start at Stinson Beach
VERTICAL GAIN: 1,100 feet -- among our easiest hikes/2,451 feet if you start at Stinson Beach.
TYPE OF HIKE: Out-and-back, entirely on fire roads, until the final surge to the summit/mostly single-track from Stinson to Bootjack
PLANNED STOPS: 10 minutes at the Mountain Home Inn, two miles into the hike; and 20 minutes at the East Peak for lunch (backpack-style)/those beginning the ascent at Stinson should get a half-hour break at Bootjack before the main hike starts.
TIME ESTIMATE (WITH STOPS): 3.5 hours/5.5 hours for those starting from Stinson
BATHROOMS: At Bootjack and at summit.
-- From the Highway 1/Stinson Beach exit of 101, take Highway 1 through the town of Tam Junction, turning LEFT at the Oriental Rug House to remain on Highway 1.
-- From the Oriental Rug House, drive 2.6 miles on Highway 1 to the intersection of Panoramic Highway.
-- Turn RIGHT onto Panoramic Highway and drive 0.8 miles to the pitchforked intersection of Panoramic, Sequoia Valley Road and Muir Woods Road. To remain on Panoramic Highway, take the middle fork, or soft left (the only road headed uphill).
-- From that intersection, drive 4.2 miles farther on Panoramic Highway to the Bootjack Picnic Area. It's $8 to park at Bootjack; if there are no spaces or you're averse to contributing to the state park system, you can park for free on Panoramic Highway, as long as you can create a couple feet of space between your car and the road.
Or, you know, just use our pinpoint map.
We'll meet in the picnic area.
For those joining Brian on the hike from Stinson Beach, simply proceed 4 more miles down Panoramic Highway, where it ends at Stinson Beach. Park by the firehouse.
Bootjack is essentially halfway up Mt. Tam. We're going to hike her from the waist up. Our eastern trek to her summit is composed primary of two very well-graded fire roads -- Old Stage Road and Old Railroad Grade -- trails that are ideal for walking abreast and conversing with fellow Trustees. With just a 1,100 foot elevation gain in 3.4 miles, it's an easy ascent.
Two miles into the hike, we'll come upon the 109-year-old West Point Inn, which was once a stopover for the "Crookedest Railroad in the World" -- the Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais Scenic Railway, which navigated 281 serpentine curves as it twisted up the mountain from from 1896-1930. Nowadays, West Point Inn and its cabins are a cozy lodging spot, and the inn's wrap-around porch serves as a gathering place for passing hikers and mountain bikers. Tradition dictates that we throw a buck or two into the donation bin and try the lemonade. Spike it at your own discretion.
As we switch trails to the summit behind the inn (a point at which untold thousands of hikers lose their way every year), we'll follow the ridge upward to spectacular panoramas of the ocean and the bay. As we jump onto Fern Creek Trail, Mt. Tam's otherwise hidden alpine lakes come into view.
Mt. Tam has three summits with the highly creative names of West Peak, Middle Peak and East Peak. We're tackling the highest of the trio, the rocky East Peak. The climb finishes off in a series of steps and twists to a (closed) teahouse-shaped lookout, ringed with barbed wire, on the summit. The East Peak parking area (yeah, it's accessible by car -- bleck) is ringed by the very cool, 360-degree Verna Dunsbee Trail.
There's nothing like basking in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais after you've mounted her, and there's nowhere that frames the grandeur of Tam better than the Parkside Cafe, where the beer and grub hits the mark.
So here's to us, immigrants all, who have made this nation -- and the Circle of Trust & Beer -- the great international melting pot that it is.
Whether you toast your beer with "Sláinte!" "Na zdravje!" "Pura Vida!" "Cheers!" "Salute!" "Salud!" "Santé!," "Prost!" "Kanpai!" "Şerefe!" "будьмо!" "Sanatate!" "L'Chaim! " "Mabuhay!" or Å’kålè ma’luna! -- let's all raise a pint in honor of those before us who came before us and gave us the opportunity to gather as a community in this, the greatest place on Earth.
Happy 238th, USA!