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13. Bootjack Loop (08/17/96)

Hikers (8): Beth, Mary, Matt, Peter, Russ, Sara, Steve, Taylor
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 10 beauty
Park info: Mt. Tamalpais State Park in Marin County

Write-up by Peter

8 people -- our biggest turnout ever!

We stopped in San Francisco to pick up Sara on our way to the hike. Taylor's master plan was to set her up with Esteban -- let's just say it wasn't love at first sight. It was only a matter of minutes before Esteban made some smart-ass comment and things went rapidly downhill from there ...

Our next stop was at a market in Marin to get lunch. Sara grumbled that we weren't in it for the hike, we were just in it for the food -- Voila! Our hike motto was born!

We arrived at the trailhead around noon and didn't waste any further time. In retrospect it would have been better to spend a few minutes to actually look at a map before just heading out. We wandered around aimlessly for about an hour, then found ourselves at an old outdoor amphitheater in the woods. A good spot for lunch!

After lunch, we headed out endlessly once again and before you knew it, we were back at the car. The group consensus was to cross over the road and check out the trails on the other side. Essentially, we had done half of a "figure 8" and were now going to do the other loop. My knee was hurting and I was threatening to weasel out, before after intense pressure from Russ, I forged on ahead.

The trail started out with a sharp downhill portion, which led into a open area. Esteban and Rusty had naturally gone up ahead. Beth, Mary, and myself were in the middle pack, and Taylor, Matt, and Sara were bringing up the rear. When the third group arrived in the open area, they continued along the trail down towards Muir Woods. Unfortunately, the other two groups had not seen the trail fork off and had continued down another trail towards the Panoramic Highway.

After a while, those of us in the middle pack realized that the third group had not followed, so I went back to hook up with the third group while Mary and Beth cooled their heels for a while. No luck ... the groups were too far apart to catch up at this point. I went back and caught up with Mary and Beth and they continued down into Muir Woods. A few minutes later, the group hooked up with Russ and Esteban who had come back on another reconnaissance mission. At least now, we were in two groups instead of three.

The trip down to Muir Woods was very pleasant -- a cool, refreshing breezes wafted between the trees and the scenery was beautiful. We made it down to the creek at the center of the park and sat on a bench for a while hoping to hook up with our other three companions, but there was no sign of them.

The way back to the top was a sharp climb, the first half of which was up a series of steps along the sides of a waterfall. Esteban and Muffy took the early lead, followed by Russ, then Mary and myself. About halfway up the steps, I saw a small bench off to the side of the trail with the word "BUN" spelled out in stones. Taylor had been here! Inspired, I pressed on ahead, leaving Mary to fend for herself (what a gentleman!). In a few minutes, Rusty was also eating my dust. I was on a roll!

Sweat pouring down, the climb continued ... the bum knee was history now! I caught up with Esteban and Muffy in the clearing where the trail had originally forked off and the groups had been separated. Esteban looked none too pleased to see me. He said it was because he was surprised that I had caught up, but the truth is that he was probably just about to put the moves on Muffy! Not wishing to spoil the fun, I forged on ahead so as to give the loving couple some privacy, but they came along too!

Back at the car, I got an earful from Sara and Taylor about (a) taking the wrong trail, and (b) leaving Mary for the wolverines. After some unpleasant remarks were exchanged all around, all parties went off and sat alone for a little while. A few minutes later, Canteen Boy showed up and also took some heat about leaving Mary alone. After a quick rest, Russ and Esteban volunteered to go back and help Mary. What gentlemen! A couple of minutes later, Mary showed up smiling, looking none the worse for wear, and happy to have earned her first INCH leaf. All was well again.

What had started out as a wimpy hike ended up being a decent climb. Not a bad way to spend a day!

Beth's 1st leaf
Mary's 1st leaf
Russ's 10th leaf
Sara's 1st leaf

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