Sunday, December 4, 2011

Muir Beach and Slide Ranch - A Coastal Exploration

          I decided to spend the afternoon doing some hiking and scampering along the Marin Coast. I started off by driving to Muir Beach and managed to nab one of the few remaining spots in the large lot. I crossed the footbridge over Redwood Creek where large restoration efforts have been put forth to rehabilitate the watershed by reducing sediment and improving the Coho and Steelhead runs.
          Being a weekend I knew it was going to be busy so once on the beach I veered off away from the crowds. The tide was low and I took advantage by exploring some of the rugged coastline south of Muir Beach. I climbed over a couple of steep eroding embankments leaving the masses behind. Walking over jumbles of kelp strewn boulders, enjoying vistas of the plethora of sea stacks, it was just myself and the fisherman. In fact, because I did not bother to check the tides before I left home, I was glad to have a few fisherman act as a warning sign of when the tides will shift. I know it is not always safe to assume that other people know what they are doing, in fact I somewhat despise that sheepish mentality, however, there were enough different groups of fisherman that my odds were pretty good one of them knew when to go before the ebb turned to flood.

Craggy Coast South of Muir Beach

          I traveled a ways down the coast before picking a place to relax and watch the waves roll in.

Sea Stack

          I contemplated waiting for sunset, but I was a little too anxious to sit still that long so I hiked back to the car and drove north on Hwy 1 to Slide Ranch for another short hike.
          There were only a couple of cars in the lot when I set off along the trail leading through the Ranch area and then descending to the rocky shoreline. There's a few places to access the shoreline from Slide Ranch and I took the northerly most trail which let me out on a deserted beach consisting of polished stones and craggy boulders. There was a great sensation of serenity and any feelings of anxiousness were soon dissolved. I set down my pack and walked up and down the shoreline looking for treasures. I did my best to explore the few exposed tide pools, but without the proper footwear I was careful not to push my luck.

Textured Rock and Rising Moon

          I ended up staying for sunset which was as peaceful as ever regardless of the lack of clouds and color.

Slide Ranch Sunset

Sunset Silhouettes


Seagull Sunset

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