Friday, January 9, 2015

detour: stinson beach

The New Year started off right: with a traditional uneventful ride. Then Major got a break, while I went on a mini-vacation to the beach.

first 2015 view (yes, that is a burned truck pushed over the cliff to Major's right. Classy.)
January brings weird weather to northern California, often very dry and cold, but no rain in sight. Perfect beach weather. I usually prefer beaches farther north, something about stark cliffs and rocks speaks to me. But this time a simpler beach was calling.

Stinson Beach is just north of San Francisco, and often has the crowds to prove it! It is near Muir Woods and great hiking at Mt. Tamalpais. But mainly it is a gorgeous long stretch of sandy beach, perfect for walking and exploring.

I hadn't been to Stinson for a few years. Then my SO and I counted: it had been when we first started dating, almost 15 years ago! OK, so it had been awhile. But not much changes at the beach.

found a sand dollar treasure: this was smaller than a dime!
But I can't sit on the beach all day, the mountain was calling, "Up, up!" And up we went, at first a tough switchback and stair trail, before leveling out on the coastal trail with spectacular views. 

green trail

up, up, up

hinting at views

ferny trails
worth it, view north-west towards Bolinas Lagoon

coastal trail

above it all

What comes up must go down, down, down a steep fire road with no switchbacks, killer on the legs! (note, next time just go back the other way!). In time for sandwiches on the beach, and an early sunset.

Do as I say, not as I do: don't go down this trail! Up would be better.
Stinson sunset
The next morning we had a coastal miracle: no fog. So hot chocolate in hand we walked the beach to see what the tide brought in.

sunrise over the sea cliffs

long winter shadows
someone built a cool castle we were lucky to see, the next wave took it down!
lovely sand patterns
sea treasure at sunrise
black turban snail shell
Winter might be here, but I'm going to take advantage of the few benefits: uncrowded beaches, sunny weather, and the time to enjoy it.

winter  perspective


  1. What a great getaway. We had heard about this beach when we were there in SF in July. We wanted to check it out but never quite made it. Next time for sure. It looks like a perfect time to visit.. you had the place to yourselves. Thanks for bringing back some photos to share here.

    1. July at Stinson beach would be super crowded, so you might be glad you missed it! You'd be better off going father north to Point Reyes. Surprisingly the coast in summer is often cold and foggy, while the inland areas bake.

    2. Yes, we froze in SF in July.. Wasn't it Hemingway that said, "The Coldest Winter I ever spent was Summer in San Francisco" ? True that!

  2. Some absolutely great pics. Do you ever ride Major there?

    1. thanks! It would be about a 3 hour drive, and I don't know of anywhere to stage, it's quite a populated area. But I'd love to ride Major on the beach, and am planning a trip later this year, probably just north of here in the Point Reyes area!

  3. Your pictures almost make me wish I lived in CA!:) It sounds like you and your SO had a wonderful time, and I particularly like the photo of your shadows on the beach!

  4. So many gorgeous photos in this entry! I especially love the surprise sand castle. Wow.