February 6-7, 2016
Original plans for camping at Austin Creek got fowled due to their backcountry being “closed,” and plan B, a day-of stab at a campsite in Pt Reyes, turned out to be fruitful. When I pulled up to the entrance kiosk at Austin Creek, the gentleman informed that no permits were being issued for backcountry campsites since the access fire road was too muddy and they couldn’t get emergency vehicles in if they were needed. I asked if signing a waiver to release the park from liability would help and he just chuckled at me. With my backpack in my car and not wanting to head back to the City where the SF-hosted Super Bowl threatened to make things crazy, I decided to give Pt Reyes a try. I lucked out and there was a spot left at Glen Camp when I got to the backcountry registration desk. So, plan B in full effect, I set out to Glen.
From the Bear Valley visitors’ center, I took the Bear Valley Trail, to Glen Trail, to the Glen Camp Loop. It’s a speedy almost 5 miles in to the campsite. There’s a little elevation gain on the way, but the trail is easy, well maintained, and beautiful, spending most of its length flirting with Bear Valley Creek.
Max elevation: 594 ft
Min elevation: 118 ft
Total climbing: 909 ft
Unfortunately, since I hadn’t booked ahead, the site I scored was #10, which happens to be directly in the middle of all the other campsites. Beggars, choosers and all that. This is the downside of camping at Pt Reyes, though—on a nice weekend, it’s always crowded. The upside is that I met a few neat people. Camped right next to me was a group of 4 ladies, 2 of whom work as guides. I chatted with them both about their work guiding and we exchanged some backpacking spots. There were 2 other ladies, Andy and Malory, camped further up the hill who invited me up to their site to have dinner with them. We chatted and played a guessing game until well past dark. It was about the same time that another group of ladies at another site finally quieted down. The 3 of us were coming up with ways we could politely—and not so politely—ask them to to quiet down, but it turned out not to be necessary after all.
Having set up camp right in the middle of the grassy meadow, there was quite a bit of condensation on the tent in the morning. I left it standing while I got up and made breakfast. Nina, one of the guides from the group near me, was up before her friends, so she sat at my site with me while we had our coffee and we chatted about her job and favorite backpacking and hiking spots.
the way out
After breakfast, I packed up my camp and headed out of the campsite. I continued along Glen Camp Loop toward Wildcat Camp to add a little bit more distance to my hike out. The loop eventually connects back up to Glen Trail a little further south from where I’d cut off it yesterday. Altogether, it was a quick 5.5 miles back down to the visitors’ center.
Max elevation: 781 ft
Min elevation: 75 ft
Total climbing: 771 ft
On the drive back to the city, I took a detour to walk along the beach on Bolinas. It was a rare, calm, warm February day and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
On this trip, I tried out my new super light BRS stove and paired it with my snowpeak ti mug. The stove works well. It’s certainly not as efficient as the jetboil sol ti, nor is it very quiet, but it gets the job done and at 25g, it’s impressively light. I also took advantage of having my tent set up to add on the new vestibule fin attachment upgrades. Unfortunately, the eyelets that attach to the fins themselves need some dyneema wire or similar to attach them, but the new hook system is on both sides now!