Miwok Trial to Tennessee Valley with Armando – 7 May 2012

Great to see Armando again after “the road to nowhere”. He wanted to give us the perspective of the next ridge over closer to Mt. Tam and further than our previous “picnic” view of the City. We carpooled from the Tennessee Valley Parking Lot to the Miwok Trailhead on Rt. 1 just beyond the Panoramic turnoff. Thanks to Jeannie for all of those precise instructions and getting us their on time.
We started in the shade of a Eucalyptus grove that gave us a reprieve from the sun that we’d enjoy on the rest of the hike. Along the trail there were outcroppings of sandstone that were decaying into the most lovely, soft sand making up the trail. It was like walking on the beach but higher up. Along the way we passed a happy juxtaposition of Fringe Cups and Bee-Plant on the shady side of the trail. Flax, Cow Parsnips and burgeoning Poison Hemlock followed us up the grade.

As C.S. Lewis wrote in his Narnia series, we were going “further up and further in”. You might compare this view of Mt. Tam from the one at the Rodeo south exit.

Armando pointed out the beauty of the blooming Thimbleberry and mentioned that the berry blooms are memorable – even the invasive Himalaya. Trying to get the latter out of your yard may detract.

Looking over toward the Strawberry peninsula toward Tiburon with suggestions of Belvedere and the Eastbay hills. Everyone seems to be casting a shadow which is a good thing.

Armando pointed out the suburban footprint extending into the hills and commented that the next fire on the mountain might well be caused by a house fire.

He also told us that he had been at a book presentation at Book Passage on Sunday evening. The book is called, In the Sierra, Mountain Writings, by Kenneth Rexroth and edited by Kim Stanley Robinson. The cover is a neat woodblock print by Tom Killion. Armando mentioned that the idea for the book began on a hike he was leading in a Sierra. They gave him a happy recognition at the event. His daughter Bella’s comment to him when she heard about it was, “So now you’re a muse!”

We stopped at a scenic Pacific overlook and had this precise location information, an earlier GPS.

Sharing the trail

Bolinas Mesa and Duxbury Reef and just a suggestion of Pt. Reyes and just maybe, Chimney Rock.

Taking an animation break

The Coastal Trail leading to Muir Beach with an animated rock. (Maybe a Bliss dog profile?)

So we went on the Miwok, Fox (?), Coastal Fire Road, Coastal Trail and Lower Tennessee Valley Trail? As usual any corrections or comments happily received.

Longer and larger view looking toward Muir Beach, Bolinas and beyond, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond except more scenic.

Huge lichen attack, how soft things can handle hard things. The building up and the tearing down. Would that be a feathery moss on top of the gray lichen? Is that “V is for Vulture”, memories of Elizabeth Terwilliger. http://www.marinij.com/ci_4738210

The drama of Tennessee Beach. http://www.noehill.com/marin/nat1981000102.asp

Destinations available for various energy levels.

Just before lunch there was some water along the trail going back toward the parking lot and these soft, non-woody Seep Monkey Flowers (Mimulus guttatus) joined us on our way. After a shady lunch near some dramatic chert http://www.nps.gov/goga/forteachers/chert-faq.htm as we hiked back to the lot, we were greeted with the songs of a Black-headed Grosbeak holding forth from some high branches.
a fitting finale to a fun hike. Thanks Mando. L

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