After weeks of being shut in because of COVID19 and poor air quality from fires, a small contingent of T104 scouts and scouters met at 8:30am on a very pleasant September Saturday for a 10-mile hike to the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.
In lieu of our recent normal kayaking trip in the Fall, our scouts decided it would be good to do a number of hikes in our area. We are fortunate to have many good, medium-length hikes within easy driving distance. And the recent merger of three Bay Area councils — the San Francisco Bay Area Council, the Alameda Council, and our home council the Mt Diable Silverado Council — in the Golden Gate Area Council has created new excitement for doing hikes that were previously out-of-council, such as the Mt. Tam hike.
So we met at Pantoll Ranger Station, said “hi!” to another troop with the same idea, got a brief orientation from one our scouts on where we’d be heading, and off we went! Our first leg led us up the Old Mine Trail to the Mountain Play amphitheatre. The skies were fairly clear and it the temperature was just right. We lingered briefly at the amphitheatre, several folks saying they hadn’t yet seen a play there before and others reminiscing about the summer crowds that swarm over the area in normal years. We walked across the top of the theater to continue on Rock Spring Trail, which leads to the West Point Inn. A short break there let the snails catch up with the rabbits, gave us a few minutes looking at the view of San Francisco, and provided a break for some water as the sun was heating things up.
Our trip to the peak took us up the northern stretch of the Old Railroad Grade, past the Visitor’s Center and up to the Fire Lookout at 2,471 ft, where we lingered a while to have water and lunch. Although there were others hiking to the peak, the trail was pretty empty, spoiling us all, and giving us room to spread out. A couple of planes flew by at or below our altitude, native bees buzzed avidly in the chaparral, and we chatted idly while looking over San Rafael and the Richmond Bridge.
The way home was mostly a return on the same trails except that we cut down Fern Trail to the southern part of Old Railroad Grade, giving us a little bit longer hike so that those scouts who wanted it could get a 10-miler for their Hiking merit badge. The detour took us past the natural spring waterfall on that trail and a few people dipped into the pleasantly cold water. The walk was just a tiny bit shy of 10 miles, so the outing ended with a few scouts walking down to the end of the Pantoll parking lot before returning to the group to say thanks and goodbyes.
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped organize the outing. We’re looking forward to the next one coming soon!