On Sir Francis Drake

Just back from a weekend adventure to Tomales Bay and Point Reyes.

Tomales Bay

We arrived in the late afternoon, and stayed at the one place I could find in Inverness that didn’t require a two-night stay on the weekends. We liked it well enough, but would aim for a room that has a water view next time. The little kitchen and the fireplace were excellent features. There’s a little marina with small sailboats and kayaks. I imagine that the kayaking on Tomales Bay would be terrific in the morning.

The Annie

The purpose of our visit was to be well-positioned for an early start on a hike in Point Reyes the next day. We aimed to scout one of the backpacking camps in the Seashore, and see if it would be reasonable for us to try with actual backpacks. After settling in, we went into Inverness for dinner. There aren’t a lot of dinner options (2), but one was recommended. It was also packed with people, so we went to option number two, which had a few people at the bar, and one table with diners. This is Vladimir’s, and you can read more about it here. One of the people at the bar was carrying on his end of the conversation at high volume. I thought, oh great, I have to listen this guy all through dinner. Then I thought, hey, don’t we know that guy? Yes, we did. Small world; he was at our Christmas Eve party a few years ago. He talked up quite a storm that night as well, but he’s interesting and funny, and that goes a long way. I must be entertained. He stopped by our table to catch up, just in case we randomly cross paths in some unlikely place years later. Here’s the thing you might want to know about Vladimir’s ahead of time: they don’t take credit cards. And they don’t highlight this fact in any visible way at the entrance or on the menu. You find out when they bring the bill and you don’t have enough cash to pay it. Inverness doesn’t have an ATM after 7pm, so this can create a Situation. But the Resident Expert and I are both pretty good at doing dishes. That turned out not to be necessary, because they were cool about it (must have come up before) and said we could stop by the next day to settle our bill.

But let’s get back to the main reason for this trip. When planning to get an early start, try not to schedule that on a day when the clock is supposed to “spring forward”. Right away we’re an hour behind. Along with that, we had to stop at the market in Inverness to get the cash we’d need to settle up with Vladimir’s. Nevertheless, we hit the Bear Valley Trail before the day-trippers arrived, and had a very pleasant walk out to Glen Camp. There’s one half-mile climb on the Glen Trail that won’t be as much fun as one might hope when wearing the backpacks, but otherwise the trail features moderate ascents and descents over the file miles. The thing we’ll want to do is secure one of the four particularly good camp sites here. The main backpacking camp area has widely spaced sites, but fairly open views to your neighbors. If you take the little trail up the hillside, you’ll discover there are four sites with much more shelter. I’ve got dibs on this one.

Site 5

The main area has a restroom and running water, and as you see above you get a picnic table and grill at your site. Here’s a view from another one of the good hillside sites down to the main camp. Look closely and you’ll see a little blue smudge in the center of the picture; that’s one of the abundant Stellar’s Jays. This was a good area for birds, and I would expect other wildlife will put in an appearance as well. For some reason they put one camp site right out in the middle of this clearing.

We had the campground to ourselves during our visit, but saw quite a few backpackers heading out as we were heading in. I suppose if you were here for an overnight during the week it would be lightly populated.

So there you have it. There are three other backpack camps in Point Reyes, one high on Mt. Wittenberg and two near the shore. Glen Camp is the most secluded of the four. Definitely feels like you’re heading into a lost world when you get on the Glen Camp loop trail.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, we did settle up our bill with Vladimir’s before heading home.

 

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