Backpacking the Beautiful Point Reyes

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go with an outdoors club on my university’s campus to the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California. One of my good gal pals has a leadership position in the club, and suggested that myself and some other friends go on the trip. Even with very little backpacking experience, I was up for the challenge and wanted to get away for the weekend.

Bleary-eyed at 6 AM when I woke up on Saturday morning, I thought how nice it would be to lay in bed for a few more hours. But then I thought about all of the college debauchery my roommates would be engaging in that weekend and how I so did not want to be a part of it – and I basically ran into my car and threw my backpack in.

A brisk two hour’s drive north of Santa Clara University, Point Reyes lies in Marin County – a wealthy and beautiful area of Northern California. Marin County is incredibly expansive and has a vast area of protected coastline. Driving in, we all remarked how the area didn’t look like the California we have become so accustomed to – or at least the Silicon Valley. Bays, lagoons, and ocean views dotted the landscape making the drive go by even faster.

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Once our larger group arrived to the trailhead, we set on our way. The first time I went backpacking last summer, I swore that I wouldn’t bring so much the next time; however, my backpack was weighed down by the sheer amount of snacks and wardrobe changes I decided to bring. Beach weather is unpredictable, right?

We hiked along the coastline and through the trees to the beautiful Alamere Falls, which is a waterfall that feeds right into the ocean. Talk about amazing! After a lunch up on the bluff overlooking the ocean, we scrambled down to the ocean to get a better look at the waterfall.

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At the falls, we found several people relaxing and picnicking. It was the perfect day, with the sun shining and a slight breeze blowing!

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Shortly after our exploration to the falls, we made our way to the Wildcat Campground, where we made our camp for the night. The campground was equipped with a rather gross toilet (but a toilet nonetheless!) and featured beachfront views.

That night, our group sat on the beach for a couple of hours and shared stories while watching the sunset. The sunset was gorgeous and was the perfect cap on our day.

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After a delicious dinner, we shared all kinds of stories around the picnic benches – some more embarrassing than others – and really got to know one another. Although my friends and I on the trip are Seniors, many people on the trip were Freshmen and Sophomores, and it was great to get to know them!

In the morning on our way out, we hiked along the beach for a couple of miles to get back to the falls. Although it was difficult walking with the heavy backpacks through the sand, the views were absolutely incredible!

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As soon as I knew it, we were done and back at the car! Although it was a short few days, I had the most amazing time on this trip! I got closer with my friends, made new ones, and didn’t have to worry about the stresses of work or school. Not having cell phone service was actually amazing because I had no idea what was happening back at home.

To cap off the awesome weekend, we stopped at one of my favorite cities in Marin County – Stinson Beach. I’ve had a soft spot for Stinson Beach ever since high school and love coming there. It’s a small, cutesy little town that offers little boutique shops, restaurants, surf shops, and yoga studios. Luckily, we stopped here for lunch and munched on delicious hamburgers and ice cream cones.

If you haven’t been to Point Reyes – or, rather, Marin County – I 100% suggest you check it out, especially if you’re from the greater Bay Area! It makes for a bit of a longer day trip, so spending the night would be ideal. The views are absolutely out-of-this world and it truly feels like you are in another planet. You can either day hike to any of the greater hiking trails in Mt. Tam State Park, visit Alamere Falls, or spend some time in lovely Stinson Beach! Either way, you can’t go wrong!

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