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33. Dipsea Trail (05/31/97)

Hikers (6): Beth, Peter, Russ, Saba, Saeed, Taylor
Distance: 14 miles
Rating: 3 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Mt. Tamalpais State Park from Stinson Beach to Mill Valley

Write-up by Peter

Despite my vow to never go hiking again after Mississippi Lake (see Hike #32), two weeks later I found myself back on the trail, this time with a brand new shiny pair of boots.

We revisited the scene of last January's adventure, where Rusty and I had been stuck in the dark woods (see Hike #21). This time we left plenty of extra time so that we wouldn't run into the same problem again. We also decided to hike in the opposite direction from last time, so we started in Mill Valley and headed towards Stinson Beach. This is a better way to go because the dark woods are closer to Stinson Beach so you get past them quickly on the way back. In addition, you don't have to worry about having to rush back to your car because the Stinson Beach parking lot closes at dusk.

We had a couple of newbies, Saba and Saeed hiking with us, so we figured this would be a good way to break 'em in.

The trail started out with the famous 671 steps of Mill Valley. We were huffing and puffing by the time we made it to the top. From there, it was a quick downhill into Muir Woods and onwards towards Stinson Beach.

As we walked through the woods, Rusty and I (well, mostly me) began to recognize landmarks from the night of the famous adventure. As usual, Rusty was not paying attention and stepped right over a snake that was wriggling across the trail. The Man!

In the heart of the woods, we came across a steep, sharp switchback and realized that this was the location where we had gone off trail last time. Good thing we had not gone too far, because there was a steep drop up ahead straight down into the gulch below!

Rusty and I made it through pretty quickly and picked a nice shady spot near the trailhead to sit and wait for the others. It was taking Saeed and the girls quite a while to get there, so we has a good long rest in the meantime. They finally showed up, and we all headed to the beach. Lunch time followed by nap time! The afternoon sun felt nice. This was no hike to Mississippi Lake, that's for sure.

After about an hour, we gathered our stuff up for the trip back. The girls were starting to whine about being tired and as soon as they saw that there was a bus that went from Stinson Beach back to Mill Valley, they bailed out. A bus ride on a hike?????? I think we need to dock them a leaf for that! Better yet, they each earn The Black Leaf Of Shame! In Saba's defense, it was her first hike and she didn't have good walking shoes, so we'll let her off the hook, but Muffy and Buffy have no excuse.

The men forged on ahead, up the steps to the woods (the toughest part of the whole hike), then through the woods, down to Muir Woods, and back up to Mill Valley. Piece of cake!

When we got there, the girls were waiting for us with a cooler of drinks. Not a bad way to end a hike! The icing on the cake was the trip to the wharf and the legendary Buena Vista Cafe afterwards. OK, OK, I guess I'm hooked on hiking again!

Milestones:
Saba's 1st leaf
Saeed's 1st leaf



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