I've been a bit scarce over the past six months thanks to a lovely series of exams to become a professional engineer (fingers crossed!). Even before the exams were over, Alice (new paddling friend in the Bay) and I were scheming to do a coastal paddle from Muir Beach to Rodeo Beach (just north of the Golden Gate). Even though we've both done a bit of coastal paddling, we were a bit nervous to head out by ourselves. Alice posted her first trip to the BASK (Bay Area Sea Kayakers) list-serve, and five other expert BASK paddlers joined us (Gordon, Don, Joe, Bert, and Ross). Gordon offered to carpool with me since we were both coming from the East Bay, so I had the exciting experience of getting a ride in his old sand-yellow mercedes station wagon!
The path to the ocean is a bit long, but we shared some wheels and hands to transport boats along the sandy trail to the beach. We gathered on the beach for Alice's first safety talk.
Three miles down we reached Rodeo Beach. The northern end of the beach is known for dumpy waves that make landing tricky. Even though conditions were calm, we decided to have lunch on the south end.
At the end of the day Alice, Gordon, Ross, and I stopped by the Pelican Inn to enjoy some drinks in the sunny lawn.
Obligatory post-trip Muir Beach factoids
[I should really start doing this before I go on trips]:
- Muir Beach lies in the Marin Headlands on the Pacific Coast of Marin County (ok, I knew that).
- Before Europeans arrived, the area was a wild and dramatic landscape, with bears, bald eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, elk, and many Coast Miwok people who moved from village-to-village.
- The Portuguese began arriving on whaling ships in the 1850s from the Azores to start dairy ranches. The beach and entire hillside was (apparently) purchased for $10 by a Portuguese settler who built a hotel and some cabins. (How big is a $10 gold coin in the 1850s?)
- The Old Tavern on the beach used to be a dance hall and host "psychedelic bands," until it was removed in the 1960s and the beach was acquired by CA State Parks. A few members on our trip remembered this Tavern fondly.
See you again soon, Ocean.