Remote singletrack in the northern Headlands.
I've about ridden all of legal trails the Marin Headlands, but the last one
would ultimately be the best. The main draw was the only legal singletrack in the park, but after taking
a wrong turn and getting caught in impassible singletrack overgrown with poison oak and stinging nettles
I was about to bag the whole thing. It wasn't any better when I found the real trailhead which wound upwards on
steep slippery switchbacks. But perseverance was rewarded, as it smoothed out into a mellow and beautiful ride
along a pleasant, undulating pitch to the crest of Coyote Ridge while below me unfolded the valley formed between the
Mount Tam ridge and the Headlands.
Green Gulch well earned it's name, being fertile with abundant growth when grasses in the rest of Marin
are fading to yellow.
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Muir Beach is shrouded in mist as I headed down the Coastal trail. Bikes are only allowed uphill on this trail, so I took
my regular route to Muir Beach to the trailhead.
This is about the grade of most of the singletrack heading to the crest. It came as a surprise, since the
map says it's 2 miles from Muir Beach to the summit at 1000 feet. This was rather daunting since the first half-mile
or so is flat as it passes through the Zen Center. Still, much of the grade is low and smooth so I think the map is
wrong. I broke my bike computer the first time I took it on a trail so I can't say for sure.
Climbing up further reveals a small, placid lake below. Views of the valley below get better and better.
Good views of the local ranges near the summit of the trail.
Night will be here soon. Time to hurry back to San Francisco.
Now to get back home. The sun was setting behind the hills as I dropped into Tennessee Valley, which kept
me moving over Wolf Ridge into Rodeo Valley despite the bad need for rest.
But the twilight turned out to be a blessing as I ran into two bobcats
coasting down, appropriately enough, the Bobcat trail. The second was eating a rabbit with a deer looking over
it not a yard away. At first I thought it might have been a fawn until the two of them darted into the underbrush
together along the same pathway. The deer and bobcat were like buddies or something, strangly reminiscent of
some Disney animation.
It was practically night by the time I reached the top of the final
leg of the Coastal trail, and the Golden Gate Bridge was lit up brilliantly with city lights in the background
as I rode down Conzelman on my way back to the city.
(b. May 11, 2002)
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