It began soggy, but luckily, didn’t end that way. A two hour’s drive towards the familiar place, though my concerns were real – we were to backpack for only a night at Point Reyes, but with a danger of wet clothes and freezing temperatures, there was a definite possibility of being unhappy, uncomfortable, or even woefully under prepared.
The good news is, if you wait around long enough, the coast will give you exactly what you want and most of what you don’t. Both should be taken with gusto, since there isn’t much of another choice. We were locked in to seeing what was before us and that we did.
Arriving at the trail head did much to dampen our spirits and gear, almost immediately. A heavy mist soaked in and took hold. The only time I failed to bring a waterproof shell and its the one when conditions were the wettest.
On our way to Sky Camp, the trail was nearly a mess. With furrowed brows, Mia and I begrudgingly made our way up, hoping for clear skies to brush off the fog.
Through thick and thin, the fog was patchy, but didn’t really lift until sunset. In fact, once we set up camp, we thought about abandoning the trip altogether. Steady and cold winds forced us into our tent, further sinking our spirits. We were not happy…
…Finally! At around 5 p.m. we got some sun and the winds stopped. Climbing from our tents felt like a chilly rebirth, but one we both needed. Night hike anyone?
In case you hadn’t noticed, fog is a contact on this trip, with ghostly mists surrounding us almost the whole time. I didn’t mind; It can be a trip wandering through trail and trees without being able to see much in front of you. Even with near-freezing temperatures, constantly moving around kept our bodies warm and minds occupied.
On the move towards Mt. Wittenberg Summit, the highest point in the Point Reyes zone at 1,407 feet, we reached an interesting and totally unique highlight of the trip, one which I won’t be forgetting soon.
The trail led us to about 100 yards of near-perfect canopy of branches, beckoning and warning us to stay out. This section of trail seemed to suck up all of our two headlamps and strong flashlight.
It got so bad at a certain point, light hit the mist five feet in front of our faces and blinded us to anything beyond. I won’t be surprised if we inherited some ancient curse, just by walking through the path…
I wanted to stay, but at the same time, the creepiness made me want to leave immediately. Being hungry and a bit grumpy, we exited the enchanted forest and scrambled down the trail to make dinner and watch the stars.
Supper, dessert, a skunk scare and some whiskey to help us snooze made the night go by quickly. Morning came with crystal clear weather and gorgeous fields of frosted grass, where applicable. I couldn’t be happier walking down the trail, mouth agape as what this place has to offer.
New Year’s always brings an interesting experience at Point Reyes, but I’m not sure I would do it again next year. With a near miss, as far as weather is concerned, my luck my end with this trip. Maybe some place warmer with a fire for 2017…