Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mill Valley Most Romantic Hike

This is Sarah and Patrick who had something to talk about.

This is mid-hike, going down to Pirate's Cove.

Merry Christmas!  Kirsty got us going on a new Christmas tradition.  The Most Romantic Hike as a family. This is fresh on the trail.  Or at least the first day.  We've settled into being out there.  I can tell we've been on the trail because Pog has taken Kirsty's pack, with all the snacks and food.  It's always a little rough at first, and this was no exception, that is, getting the family all going in the same direction.  Back to the hike:

Plan on some uphill to begin.  Take it slow.  Trust me.  I've added more logistics and details below.

See Fort Cronkite down on the right?  The photo almost looks like it's from the forties or fifties.  Likely not much has changed from this perspective.

This is (hopefully) our new family tradition, making the Most Romantic Hike from Marin Headlands / Fort Cronkite to Stinson Beach.  It was some work to get here, though everyone said it was worth it.  From Fort Cronkite look for the Coastal Trail.

Coastal Trail
The whole first day is on the Coastal Trail.  Don't be fooled, it twists and winds quite a bit, above Fort Cronkite, and several times it seems like it's going the wrong way.  Don't worry, it'll straighten out, and actually does once you get to the top of this ridge.

This is shortly after Fort Cronkite.  There are some steep sections!

Patrick and Sarah still had something more to talk about.   After the first bit of climbing, now there is some downhill into Tennessee Valley.
 Are we there yet?  We've just finished the first section.  Below is Tennessee Valley and beyond that is Pirate's Cove, followed by Muir Beach.  Lot's of ocean views.    It's like our own little slice of mother nature, shared just for us.

 We could have brought Ellie?!  We hardly saw any people, and I don't remember seeing any dogs, but you can bring them!  I think they aren't allowed on our second day, the Dipsea.  Somehow we did not notice this on our last trip.  In fact, are these new trail signs?

Moira studying rock formations.

I think they are still talking...  Pog is concentrating.  We hardly saw any other hikers, but I see a couple behind us here, along with a view back to San Francisco.

This is heading down after Tennessee Valley, now into Pirate's cove.  It's like our own little slice of mother nature, shared just for us.

I love the rugged coast here.  It's so amazing, and beautiful.
Not finished yet... Pog and Sarah are still discussing.
Muir Beach and the few houses surrounding it.This is heading into Muir Beach.
First Glance at Muir Beach

Poggy at the top with his mom.
We picked up the car at Muir, and high-tailed it to Mountain Home Inn for the sunset.  It's hard to tell, but that's the ocean in the background.  From here, you can see the Pacific and San Francisco bay, down through Mill Valley.  Exceptional spot.
 Patrick and Sarah hugging.  We can all relax!

We had a tremendous meal at Mountain Home Inn, Dungeness crab was king.  Best ever.  Super fresh, sweet, straight up- still in the shell.  So so good.

Day 1 - Start at Fort Cronkite/Marin Headlands.  Hike from the Headlands to Muir Beach along the Coastal Trail.  To cut the hike to two days, we drove from Muir Beach to Mountain Home Inn, on the Panoramic Highway, about 5-6 miles away.

Getting there:
It's the first exit north of the Golden Gate bridge, or last exit before, heading south on 101.  Take the signs to Fort Cronkite.  It's about 5 minutes from the exit.

Fort Cronkite:  There's lots of it, and it's free and you can park overnight.
Muir Beach:  Plenty of parking.  We left a car here, for the end of our hike.

The trail:
The Coastal Trail.  It's well marked, but don't worry when it wraps back around on itself, you are headed in the right direction.  It's about 5 miles to Muir, and takes about 3 hours with a stop for lunch. 

Hiking Options:

Pelican Inn is at the end of Muir Beach.  An English Pub and Inn.  Totally awesome people, pub, restaurant and about 5-6 rooms.  The hike from here takes you to Muir Woods and finishes at Mountain Home Inn.

We stayed at  Mountain Home Inn last year, but it was just Kirsty and I.

The best thing about MHI is the view.

This is the view from our room from lucky number 7.  It had the fireplace like last year, and the tub with this view, as well as the balcony and double doors to this view.  We had a fire at night, and another in the morning.  :-)

Day Two- The bar turned coffee bar.

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