In our efforts to explore north of us, we scheduled two camping trips this summer. The first one — to Mt. Tamalpais State Park near Marin — was at the end of June. We stayed at the Steep Ravine campground, a small area with limited amenities but gorgeous views. First, though, a little bit about our drive up. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge while it was half covered in fog, an iconic view that I made Bruce take a picture of (since I was driving). He loves it when I make him take pictures.
We stopped for lunch and a walk around Marin before heading west to the campground.
The campground is on the cliffs overlooking the ocean (awesome!)…
… but you have to park in the lot and haul all your stuff to your site via wheel barrows (not so awesome!).
The boys were thrilled.
We took a quick exploratory walk. This view was ten steps from our campsite.
After we were settled in, we hit the beach.
Here’s our destination.
And the way to get to it … not easy!
But it was definitely worth the hassle of climbing over the rocks. A beautiful, quiet, sunny beach is my happy place.
The boys love it too.
They flew kites.
And dug holes.
And got surprise-attacked by cold waves.
After a while we headed back up to the campsite for dry clothes and food; then we did a little more exploring.
Back at the site, there was whittling.
And an early campfire — it was colder than we’d expected.
After the boys’ favorite camping dinner (hotdogs) we turned in early because we were all freezing and just wanted to get in our sleeping bags.
The night included a raccoon invasion that Finn and I slept through. Bruce and Ezra woke up, though, and knew those pesky pests were going after our food so they got up to fight them off. The rascals couldn’t get into our cooler or food container, thankfully, but we must have left a loaf of bread out although neither of us remembers getting it out of the box. They ripped it apart.
It was clear from the box that they had made a valiant effort to open that too.
A little while later when the boys and I were snuggled up in the tent (it was still so cold!) and I had dozed off, Bruce starting yelling at us to get up because there was a whale close by. Despite being startled awake, which is not my favorite thing, I was happy to have the opportunity to see the whale. It was amazing — he stayed out there for a long time feeding. I tried to get a good shot, but you can’t tell where he’s going to come up until he’s already up and my reflexes aren’t that fast. But here are a couple of shots.
Once we’d had enough of whale watching, we took a hike around the campground as the fog started to lift.
As soon as the sun was fully out, we headed back down to the beach for several hours.
Finally, after the boys were soaked and every morsel of food had been eaten, we trekked back up to the campsite for chips and salsa. And dry clothes.
And views! I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
In the evening, we had another campfire, burritos for dinner, and, of course, roasted marshmallows. We were all pretty tired, though, and turned in early again. Did I mention that the tent was on an incline? Not the best sleeping situation, but we didn’t have another choice. It was comical how much the boys slid down during the night … right off their pillows.
The raccoons came back for a second try, as evidenced by the paw prints all over the cooler, but we’d thwarted their attempts and they got nothing! Nothing! We, however, had a lovely breakfast of avocado toast.
As usual, after a couple of nights of camping we were ready to get home (or maybe that’s just me). So we packed everything up pretty quickly and hit the road. Or … maybe not. We were pulling out of the campground when Bruce noticed a trailhead across the road. So, we parked the car and, much to the boys’ dismay, started walking on the Steep Ravine Trail.
Pretty soon the boys came around and we all had a nice time on the hike.
It was a great way to end our first trip of the summer.