Point Reyes - Tomales Bay
In January 2021, we finally pulled the trigger and got ourselves a tandem kayak, the foldable Oru Haven. I won’t get into too many details about that here, full review of the boat is coming soon.
Point Reyes National Seashore has been on our radar for quite a while, but somehow we never got to organize a trip. We drove past it in January on the way to Point Arena and marveled at Tomales Bay, discussing how nice it would be to spend some time there. A few weeks later, we found out that we’ll have three days off in the second half of April, and decided to try for Point Reyes.
This National Park (well, Seashore) is an amazingly diverse place, featuring rolling hills, rugged ocean shores, wetlands, and famous Tomales Bay, a narrow, but almost 9 miles long body of water separating the peninsula from the mainland. This is saltwater, but shallow and protected, calm compared to the ocean.
The hills and the ocean side have backpacking campgrounds accessible by foot or horseback. Tomales Bay has boat-in only camping on its western shores. There are two semi-developed campgrounds (Marshall Beach and Tomales Beach) with picnic tables and pit toilets. At-large camping is allowed on many other beaches (the few off-limits spots are marked on the map). Important notes: one, there’s no potable water anywhere, you have to bring it in. Two, if you’re in a spot without a pit toilet, you have to pack out your poop, either by using a portable toilet or wag bags, Whitney-style. Three: fires are sometimes permitted if you bring your own firewood, but this year, all fires were outlawed because of fire danger.
Recreation.gov has the permits. Spots can be reserved for either groups of 1-6 people or 7-14 people. I guess it goes without saying: popular dates and holidays are reserved way in advance.
Our dates had still had plenty of vacancy, so I made the reservation and we started planning. We knew this will be a learning curve as it was a new experience for us in unfamiliar environment using relatively unfamiliar gear.
The bay has several overnight parking lots and launch ramps. We chose Miller Boat Launch on the east side (more about this later).
Also, I kept checking the weather. Wind was our primary concern. As I said, the bay is way more protected than the open ocean side, but strong winds can happen here as well, especially in the afternoons. Our forecast was mixed, with calm mornings and then the possibility of strong gusts. Normal weather for this place.
Day 0 – L.A. to Petaluma
As we wanted to get on the water early in the morning, driving up from L.A. and launching the same day was not an option. I found a cheap Motel 6 room in Petaluma, about 30 miles from Miller Boat Launch and we decided to do drive up there after Em was done with work. No matter how late we’ll arrive there, we’ll get a few hours of sleep and then get an early start.
We were very lucky. Em got off early, the gear was already prepared. We loaded the car quickly and got out of town just before rush hour started. I drove as fast as I dared and as we approached the Bay Area, we kept checking traffic maps to see which way is the fastest. Again, luck was on our side, we could take the shortest route and much to our surprise, we arrived in Petaluma almost an hour before sunset.
The Motel 6 was in a commercial-industrial part of town, the building itself in great shape, recently renovated. However, I have to admit we got a bit scared when we arrived. The parking lot was full of shady-looking characters and run-down cars. After a short while, we realized this must be transitional housing for homeless people. Everybody was relatively nice and friendly, though. We requested and got a room on the ground floor with a parking space right in front so we don’t have to unload the car. We covered all the gear with a blanket and hoped for the best.
Then we realized we forgot our fresh vegetables at home. This was not really backpacking, we planned a few meals with fresh tomatoes and bell peppers. I ran across the street to a 99c Only store (the ones in L.A. do have fresh stuff sometimes), but no luck, the only thing I could find were pickled mushrooms. The lady told me we’d have to drive to downtown Petaluma, three miles away, for anything more. Talk about a food desert.
As the car was already secured and it was getting late, we decided to try and get something next morning on the way. According to the map, there was a convenience store along the country road we’ll be taking, opening at 5am.
After eating the dinner we packed, we went to bed early. I was a bit concerned there will be partying and whatnot during the night, but I only got woken up once, around midnight, by some woman yelling.
Day 1 – Petaluma to Miller Boat Launch to camp at White Gulch
We got up at 6am and left as soon as we could, which of course is never soon enough. The “convenience” store was open all right, but it turned out to be a liquor store, only selling fresh lemons, and even those were out of stock (we already had lemons). We’ll have to make do.
A scenic two-lane blacktop took us across the hilly headlands, eventually hitting Highway 1 just south of the town of Tomales. We turned left and soon the bay came into view. It was overcast, but balmy and calm. Hog Island, White Gulch and the trees around Pierce Point Ranch were visible in the distance. With a bit of luck, these will all be places we’ll visit soon.
A few minutes later we drove into Miller Boat Launch. This place has a small jetty, a paved launch ramp, a restroom, dumpsters, etc. There was still plenty of space, we took a spot close to the ramp and started putting the boat together.
As we never packed for kayak camping before, this took quite a while, even though we rehearsed some of it beforehand. There was one bear canister, one big dry bag, two small dry bags, three gallons of drinking water, a camp shower with four gallons of tap water, and miscellaneous other items. One resupply from the car was planned.
For a moment we had a big scare: the boat has a rod going across the middle, crucial for stability. The rod itself is aluminum, but the ends are two plastic knobs with grooves that have to be fitted in slots on the sides of the body with a “gentle tapping motion” (quoting the instruction video). This was only the fourth time we assembled the kayak, and when I was tapping the second knob into place, it broke.
Briefly, I felt desperate. The boat will be loaded up to the gills. We’ll be on the water for four days. Going without this stabilizer would be very foolish and its absence could also damage the rest of the structure. What to do? To fix the knob was out of the question, no glue in the world would hold it against that tension. I told Em this is a trip-ending failure, we either find a hack or start thinking about alternative plans.
Then I had an idea: the ratchet straps! Before our trip to Morro Bay in March, we bought a simple kayak cart. It worked great and turned out to be very helpful. Although we didn’t anticipate any carting on this trip, we still packed it, agreeing that it’s standard equipment from now on and we’ll leave it in the car. The cart comes with two ratchet straps to secure the kayak. They’re thin and flimsy, not intended for heavy loads, but perfect for such a small cart.
I took the straps and fashioned two of them into a longer one so it fit around the kayak’s girth. We positioned it where the tension rod would have been and applied the ratchet, making sure not to make it too tight. It was perfect!
The next distraction before departure was much more pleasant: a river otter showed up. We heard these amazing creatures started frequenting Tomales Bay a few years ago, but there weren’t that many of them. This one sat on a small rock just offshore, devouring a rather large fish. A great blue heron was hunting nearby, making for great photos and some more lost time.
One note: these are river otters. The ones on Morro Bay are sea otters. The main difference is that sea otters almost never touch land other than for giving birth. River otters nest and rest on dry land all the time.
At this boat launch, the lower, paved parking lot is for day use only, overnight parking is in the dirt lot among the trees on the upper level. After finalizing everything, I took the car up and locked it, Em still watching the otter down below.
It was late, almost 9:30am, but finally, we were ready. The clouds were slowly clearing, the water still mostly glass, with the wind not picking up just yet.
We got in the kayak and of course it was heavily loaded, sitting lower than usual, but it still seemed safe. As it was low tide, the water right off the ramp was choked with seaweed, so we almost got stuck for a moment. After some pushing and shoving, the boat was floating free. The otter climbed on the pier next door and was watching us slowly ease our way out into the bay.
The boat felt slow, though stable – exactly because of the added weight. Paddling was still easy and we didn’t hurry. The general idea was to pass the duo of Hog Island and Duck Island on their south side and head for Pelican North Beach, our planned camp spot.
A word about these two small islands: they lie in the middle of Tomales Bay, somewhat closer to the peninsula side. The larger one, Hog Island, is named such because a ship carrying pigs beached here and the animals lived happily ever after in this protected habitat. Now it’s a rookery for harbor seals and supposedly there’s the occasional visit by great white sharks. Duck Island is smaller, on the south side of its bigger cousin. Both have quite a few trees, and these are filled with nesting cormorants.
The San Andreas fault runs right through Tomales Bay. There’s a legend that these two islands used to be one and they split at the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. According to historical records, this is not true, there are maps and real estate deems showing them as separate entities from way before then. Note: landing is allowed on the island, but only on the far side from the rookery. The rookery side is strictly off-limits.
The islands are less than a mile from Miller, it took us about 15 minutes to lumber past them. Another ten minutes later we landed on Pelican North Beach. It’s a rather plain, non-descript beach, about 5-600 feet long. Nobody else was there, but we were sure we’ll have neighbors later. Several obvious tent sites were visible, we selected one on the south end and unloaded the boat.
The sky was almost completely clear, but of course, the wind was getting stronger. After pitching the tent and eating a snack, we decided to go for a boat ride around the islands before the wind picked up even more. We approached Duck Island, took some photos of the cormorants, then worked our way up and around Hog Island. The wind was strong and we were paddling against the tide, too. It was a workout, but not so bad with the empty kayak. The seals were sunbathing on the shore, ignoring us.
The wind was weaker closer to the peninsula. We took a break on Wall Beach (the next one up from Pelican North) and debated whether to go back to camp or check out White Gulch to the north. We ended up paddling north, meeting another river otter as it overtook us easily.
White Gulch is a relatively significant cove with some striking white sandstone cliffs (hence the name). We fully intended to explore this area in detail later anyway, but this time, when approaching the entrance to the main cove, it looked like there’s a very nice, secluded mini cove on its north side, sporting its own tiny beach. A lone seal was swimming around in the shallows – little did we know that this is his domain.
We stopped to check it out and were amazed by the place. The cove was tiny, the southern end walled off by the White Gulch cliffs, adorned with a huge ceanothus in full bloom. The narrow beach measured maybe 150 feet in length. However, you could see several people camped here before. Honestly, though, comfortably there was only room for one tent. It was close to the high tide line, but according to the forecast, the tides should be relatively small for the next few days and the waves calm. The traces of previous waves were visible, close, but not too close.
It didn’t take much discussion to conclude that we’ll move to this spot. While paddling back, the strategy was formulated. We’ll load loose items in the kayak, I’ll drop them off by myself, and in the meantime, Em breaks down the tent and packs up the rest. Then I’ll pick her up. Despite the double paddle, we still deemed this easier, mostly because we didn’t want to fully load up the boat again.
It worked like a charm. The wind was stronger, but most of the way was in the lee of the peninsula. I unloaded the first batch, then went to get Em in the empty kayak. Funny enough, this was the hardest part as it was out of balance lengthwise. It’s possible to configure it for one person, meaning the seat is more towards the bow, but it wasn’t worth doing it for this quick trip.
Em was already done packing and she was just sitting on the beach, having a great time. She said she felt a bit like being shipwrecked, minus the desperation (and the cannibals). On the hill behind, we got our first glimpse of a Tule elk. More about them soon.
In another hour, we were firmly settled in our new spot. If all goes well, this will be our home for the next three nights. It was magical. The little cove felt very private and secluded, though we could pretty much see Miller Boat Launch on the far side of the bay. However, getting neighbors here seemed unlikely, there wasn’t enough room.
The tide was coming in, but it was still low enough for us to explore the shallow tide pools and marvel at crabs and starfish. The afternoon went by quickly. Around 5:30pm, we secured the food and boat and went for a quick exploratory hike up the hillside. Climbing out of this beach without some serious bushwhacking was only possible in one place. Most of the back was protected by steep rock or impenetrable vegetation. We found a spot where some of the bush has burned and it was possible to get past the jungle and out onto the hill.
It was unbelievably cool. The green grass was dotted with irises in full bloom, thousands and thousands of them. Some grew individually, but most were in clusters of a few dozen. The sun was getting low making the colors rich beyond belief. The wind died down, meaning it was pleasant, so we spent almost an hour wandering around. We also scouted the route for next day’s hike up to the ranch. It seemed obvious.
The seal we saw before was swimming in the cove again, eyeing us standing on the hillside.
Then it was back to camp for a very quick shower, a nice dinner, and watching the bay slowly sink into darkness. It was not cold at all, but everything was damp and we had to make sure to bundle up. One mistake we made is not to bring waterproof shoes, we didn’t think we’d need them, but our regular thin running shoes got pretty wet walking on the waterlogged sand.
All was good, though, we were warm and snug in our tent, reasonably safe from the high tide which was to come circa 1am.
When we got up for a potty break around that time, we saw that the water is calm and at least another vertical foot below the point where it would have threatened us.
The only other event of the night was the resident seal. I’m not sure whether it was natural behavior or he was mad at us infringing on his territory, but at dawn, we awoke to him snorting and guffawing very loudly only a few dozen feet from shore. It sounded like a sea monster is about to come onto land and devour everything. It was hilarious.
Day 2 – Camp at White Gulch, two paddles on the bay, hike to McClures Beach
We awoke at 6am to low tide, cloudy skies, but calm waters. A racoon’s fresh tracks could be seen across the beach, but apparently, he didn’t approach our stuff.
After breakfast, we got into the kayak and paddled back to Miller to pick up drinking water and fill the camp shower again. Beforehand, we emptied the leftover tap water from the shower into the empty bottles of drinking water.
We took it slow, looking at the birds and other wildlife. The north side of Hog Island is so shallow, we almost got stuck in seaweed, seemingly far from dry land, but there must be a sand bar. The seal were still there, not minding us.
Miller was much busier than the day before, with many more clammers and casual tourists around. Em filled the shower, I got some more drinking water and other items from the car. I was supposed to get some additional wag bags, too, but forgot. Big mistake.
Back at camp, we explored the tidepools some more, ate lunch, then got in the kayak again, and paddled north, passing Pita Beach first.
There was very little wind, but we were paddling against the tide. It wasn’t terrible, though. We met our resident seal again, then another otter, then a coyote on the beach.
About 45 minutes later, we arrived at Jack’s Beach, a former camp recently designated day-use area. I can see why, this place must have been very popular. It’s close to Lawson’s Landing, another launch site, and from the nice beach, a path leads to a great campsite in the woods, complete with huge fire rings and old picnic tables. I’m sure this place has witnessed many wild parties in its day.
The paddle back was much easier, the rising tide carrying us. With minimal effort, we were back in camp in half an hour. Finally, I took the opportunity to take some close-ups of the blooming ceanothus. Magnificent. Two foxes appeared on the hillside, seemingly uninterested in us. Yeah, we should be so lucky.
It got late, past 3:30pm, but we still decided to for a hike. Again, we secured all the gear and the food, then climbed out of the beach and headed east. The first destination was Pierce Point Ranch. We took two empty water bladders with us to see if we could fill them up somewhere.
The only reasonable route was to gain some elevation first, circumnavigating While Gulch’s hump, then dropping into the watershed behind the cove. On the hump, we saw the first real herd of Tule Elk, moving up towards the ranch on the other side of the hill.
About these elk: this subspecies can only be found in California, and though once numerous, they were thought extinct by the late 19th century. Usual story of over-hunting and habitat loss.
In 1874, a rancher named Henry Miller found the last breeding pair on his property and made sure they were protected. Today there are several herds in California, one of them on this peninsula. In 2019-2021 they were in the news several times because the drought decimated them and there was a big legal fight between conservationists, cattle ranchers and the NPS about how to provide for them. A quick Google search will yield more information.
Back to our hike: going was slow, not because of the terrain, but for all the sights to see. The irises for one, but then the bottom of the gulch had some lupins and the far side was carpeted with wild radish, all of them in bloom. Hundreds of thousands of tiny flowers, swaying gently in the breeze.
It looked like there used to be a road from this beach to the ranch, and some of was still exposed, but the middle part was completely lost in an unpassable thicket of bushes. After crossing the gulch and the radish field, we kept to the hillside, undulating among the much sparser bushes there. It still needed some forethought, there were thick parts, but overall, it was easy. Some members of the elk herd were much closer now, but seemingly unbothered by us.
Soon, we got to the old ranch. Most old buildings are well preserved as an open-space museum with info boards and all. The main house is still occupied, housing NPS personnel. How amazing it must be to be stationed here for a while!
The paved road coming up the peninsula ends here, with the old farm road becoming a trail leading to Tomales Point. That’s the plan for tomorrow. Now it’s McClures Beach.
Very few people were around, we were mostly by ourselves when we explored the old farm buildings for a while, also looking for a water spigot (no luck). Finally, we went to the east side and followed the last bit of the paved road downhill to a small parking lot where the trail to McClures Beach starts. The trail is short and easy, with rare yellow lupin gracing the side. A small creek was running in the middle and we decided to try and fill our water bottles on the way back. It was windy, but mostly because of the narrow canyon. Ten minutes later, on the beach, it was much nicer.
McClures Beach feels remote and wild, with untamed waves breaking and the sand ending in dramatic cliffs on each end. We got lucky, only two more people were there. From what I near, the place can be crowded in the busy months.
We sat on a driftwood log, ate a snack, marveled in the view, then headed back. It was almost 5:30pm, but we still had plenty of daylight left.
I climbed down to the creek and filled one bottle. However, the water so silty, it wasn’t worth messing around with it. From the ranch, we retraced our steps in the brush, taking more or less the same route. Some elk were on the far side of the hill, but then we saw another group much closer. More photo-snapping ensued. Ditto on the radish field further down. We just couldn’t get enough. Add to this a male quail in full mating colors, sitting on top of a bush, patiently waiting for me to take his portrait (or a lucky lady to come along).
Regardless, a bit after 6:30pm, we were back at camp. The resident seal was still there, not very happy about our presence.
We took a short shower, then sat around in the pleasant evening, looking at the water, before going to bed at 10pm.
Day 3 – Camp at White Gulch, paddle south, hike to – almost – Tomales Point
The bell is ringing… Which means a fish is biting… What? Let me sleep… The bell is still ringing… What?!?
We woke at 3am to the fishing bell ringing like crazy. Here’s how that goes: as I mentioned before, you have to pack out all human waste here, which meant wag bags for us. All our food was in the bear canister, to one side of the tent. Much farther away, on the other side, we left our two used wag bags and I placed a rock on them. Also, to know in case something messes with them, I clipped a fishing bell on the top one, which happened to be Em’s. We often take these clip-on fishing bells camping, even when not fishing; they make great alarms.
This time, while groggily trying to get my bearings and open the tent, I kept hearing the bell going like crazy, but getting fainter. Somebody was obviously running away with it.
When we got out of the tent, we saw the tail of a fox disappearing in the thick brush, and though we gave chase, we knew it was pointless. Soon, the bell stopped ringing, too.
Well, a fox stole Em’s poop. There’s that.
We were upset mostly because all that plastic would become trash. Also, we’d have to boat back to the car to pick up more wag bags, but that’s a minor inconvenience in comparison.
After a few minutes of shining our flashlights at full blast into the bushes, fruitlessly trying to catch a glimpse of the bag, we retreated to the tent and went to sleep again.
Of course, the harbor seal woke us again with his monsters sounds, but that was actually cute.
In the morning, even before breakfast, I went looking for the bag. It took all of 30 seconds, I spied the gray of the bag, standing out from the brown of the thicket, only about ten feet from the edge. Even the fishing bell was still attached. I had to circumnavigate some bushes to get to it, but a minute later, I happily returned with my trophy. The outer bag of the setup is thick, sturdy plastic. It had teeth marks, but no punctures.
We happily ate breakfast, then went for another paddle – this time south. The first creature we met was a racoon on the rocks. He had a long piece of pink meat in his maw – more than likely an eel. The racoon happily trotted up the beach with his meal and disappeared in the bushes.
A few minutes later, on the near end of Wall Beach, a small fawn ambled down to the shore, eyeing us curiously. The other end of the beach had different animals: three guys with a tent. One of them was standing by the water line, puking his heart out. The merriment last night went a bit too far, eh?
When we paddled by Pelican North Beach, we counted no fewer than nine tents. At least one more party was just arriving. One guy strapped a huge crate on his kayak and looked like he’ll capsize any second – but he didn’t. How happy we were to have moved!
Our first stop was Pelican Point. This is off limits to camping, but landing is allowed. Supposedly, pelicans nest here, but none were visible this time. The peninsula itself was overgrown with ice plants – beautiful, but invasive and very damaging.
We continued south into the bay, paddling by the two Elk Fence beaches and then Tomales Beach. This is one of the developed campgrounds and was crowded accordingly. A zoo, actually. We didn’t even count the tents.
Another mile down was Marshall Beach, the other campground with toilets. It wasn’t as crowded as Tomales, yet. Two large parties were just arriving, unpacking their kayaks and looking for sites to set up.
First, we paddled past the camp, crossed the little cove to Lairds Landing and got out there. This used to be a Miwok settlement for as many as 2,000 years. Their descendants worked as dairy farmers for the local ranchers, but then they were evicted in 1955. Typical. A man named Clayton Lewis took over as caretaker and made it into sort of a "bohemian enclave". The place fell into disrepair after his death in 1995. There are ruins of some cabins, sheds, animal pens and equipment. A dirt road still runs down here, too. In one patch (I'm guessing an old garden), about two dozen beautiful calla lilies were blooming, looking out of place.
After looking around a bit, we considered having lunch at this spot, but it was drafty, and Marshall Beach on the other side of the cove looked way more sheltered. We paddled over there and sat on a log in the lee of the trees, chatting with a friendly local fisherman. He really whetted my appetite to come back one July and try to catch salmon.
It was already past noon, time to go back as we planned a long hike for the afternoon. Of course, we timed it wrong, the tide turned and now we were paddling against it. At least the wind was milder.
The paddle north took some effort, but with small breaks, we were back on our cozy private beach in about an hour and a half. No matter how quickly we wanted to get going, all sorts of distractions kept us in camp for another while and we only left at 4pm.
We climbed out of the cove, but we didn’t drop much into the watershed, staying on the hillside instead. The weather was different from the day before with heavy fog blown in from the ocean side. It looked very dramatic. We found the remnants of an old track on the hill and followed that for a while, finally hitting the trail a few hundred yards above the ranch. We could see quite a few people on the trail and at least 10 cars in the parking lot.
The trail (and old ranch road) runs on the crest of the hill, with views of the ocean to the east (our left this time) and the bay in the west. The ocean was almost invisible because of the fog, we could only hear it most of the time.
Going was easy, but of course we had to stop often for pictures. About a mile in, a few elk emerged from the mist on the left side. We stopped so I can switch to the telephoto lens, and the timing was perfect. We just stood still and clicked away as the rest of the group appeared, and 20 or so elk crossed the trail right in front of us. These were the females. A bit farther up, the guys were chilling out in the grass, laying in a group of about eight, keeping to themselves.
Not much later we got to the site of Lower Pierce Point ranch. All old buildings and equipment have been removed, the only remnant of the extension is an old stock pond. This time, it still had water and of course some more elk hung around. This spot has been the subject of great controversy since, with the pond drying up, the parks service refusing to fill it, volunteers hand-carrying in thousands of gallons of water, etc. Again, google it.
Past the old ranch site, Tomales Point is an additional 1.7 miles away, a sign indicating an “unmaintained trail”. Here the hillside was covered with millions more wild radish blooms, an amazing sight.
It was almost 6pm, and with a heavy heart, we had to turn around. The distance was not bad at all, but we agreed that despite having our headlamps, we want to get back to camp by nightfall. Trying to find the way in the dark would not have been a problem on a clear night, but the fog kept getting thicker and we didn’t want to wander around in the dark. Thus, we hiked back on the road, still enjoying the dramatic fog and the elk hiding in it.
We were back in camp just before 7:30, in time to settle and prepare for we evening. There was still enough tap water in the shower for a quick wash-up. Then dinner and just sitting on the beach, gawking at nothing in particular. It goes without saying, the resident seal kept us company.
The night was uneventful, the wag bags were much better secured this time. The seal snorted and coughed a few times, but much less. Maybe he was making his peace with us.
Day 4 – Camp at White Gulch, Miller Boat Launch, Gilroy, back to L.A.
We got up to even thicker fog. We couldn’t even see the two small islands, let alone the far side of the bay.
Despite being in a hurry (long day ahead), we were slow and only left camp at 8:30am. The fog was slowly lifting, but it was still thick enough that we both put on our headlamps on full power. The reason for this was to be more visible to any powered boats. There wasn’t much traffic, but the ones on the water were fast, especially crabbers and clammers racing back and forth between their traps.
It was great, though, it felt very serene, paddling quietly in the mist. By this time, we could see the two small islands and then the far side of the bay. When we made landfall at Miller’s, the sun peaked out a bit and an hour later the sky was crystal clear.
The parking lot was busy. Organized groups, paddle boarders, kayakers, more clammers, more crabbers. I fetched the car, parked it right by the ramp. We washed the boat off, toweled it dry, disassembled everything, loaded the gear, ate a snack. It took almost two hours. Still, we were on time. The plan was to meet two friends from the Bay Area. They said there’s the best BBQ in Gilroy, so let’s go there for lunch.
We left Miller around 11am and drove towards San Francisco, again checking the traffic maps, but it wasn’t bad.
Originally, I estimated we’ll get to Gilroy between 1 and 2pm. Behold, we pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot at 1:40pm. Despite being huge garlic fans, we’ve never been to Gilroy before and we agreed to go back and check it out.
After a great time with our friends, we were back on the road and back in L.A. by the late afternoon.
This was a truly different experience, mostly because of how wet everything got. Thankfully, we anticipated some of that and were prepared. I wish we would have taken our waterproof boots for the shore and neoprene socks for paddling, but it was still very enjoyable. The biggest issue was freshwater, but even that was manageable.
This type of outing requires slightly different gear than mountain backpacking, but the philosophy is still the same. Can’t wait to go back.
Make sure to take a look at the entire gallery.