We got an extra early start for our longest hiking day, which clocked in at 18.5 miles with more than 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

Walking an old military road

The morning started out as a pleasant and easy stroll along an old military road from the 1800s. We hugged the edge of a long, narrow valley, hopscotching with the train tracks for the West Highland Railway.

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Halfway day! The middle of our week of hiking and the day we passed the halfway point of the West Highland Way.

Kinda reminds us of the PNW

The trail was still fairly rocky and hilly, but easier going than around the lake. After a stretch through a wooded area, we came out onto open grazing lands with lots of sheep and cows. We got awfully close to some cows that were hanging out on the sides of the trail — including a baby cow nursing its mother. We were careful to move slowly and be very non-threatening as we walked around the nursing cow.

A cow nursing on the trail

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We had a rough start on our third day. First, the weather — which had been so bright and sunny the first 2 days — finally succumbed to its more typical forecast of drizzle, fog, and gray skies.  More problematic, though, were Rachel’s feet, which had succumbed to blisters.

Ben Lomond

We suffered through the first mile or so before finding a very scenic bench on which to assess feet and apply about five more layers of bandaids. Refortified by the bandaids and the view of Loch Lomond, we got back on the trail.

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After lunch at the bottom of Conic Hill, we set off along the shore of Loch Lomond. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves and expecting an easy walk along the lake to our destination for the day: the Rowardennan Hotel.

And the first part of the afternoon was, in fact, easy walking. The trail hugged the lakeshore and even wandered directly onto the beach in places.

Feet by Loch Lomond

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At the Braeside B&B we had our first of many “full Scottish” breakfasts. It’s a good thing we were walking 14 miles a day — it definitely justified our massive breakfasts!

Traditionally, a full Scottish breakfast includes fried eggs, a rasher of bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, toast, and of course, lots of tea. And sometimes you’ll also get porridge, fruit, or tattie scones (more on these scones later!). It’s quite the substantial meal! Fortunately for us, the good folks at Braeside let us preselect what we wanted included in our breakfast, making it a little more manageable for those of us accustomed to just toast or yoghurt in the morning.

Into the hills

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A couple weeks ago we spent 7 days walking the West Highland Way in Scotland. At 8-18 miles each day,  the West Highland Way takes you 96 miles from just north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The West Highland Way starts in the town of Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy), just north of Glasgow. We took the train up and had fun on the way trying to spot who else might be embarking on the same hike. At the Milngavie train station, we handed off our luggage to the baggage carriers who would be transporting it for us, and then with just our daypacks, we struck off to find the start of the trail.

Start of the West Highland Way at the Milngavie train station

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It was supposed to be a warm, sunny day.

We had slathered on the sunscreen and filled the Camelbaks up to capacity. The weather forecast said 68 and sunny throughout Marin.

But as we approached it, the bridge was wreathed in fog. And as we started up Mt. Tam to Pan Toll Ranger Station, the fog got thicker. And thicker. And then it started to drip rain in spurts. And the fog was so thick you could barely see 50 feet up the road.

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Last weekend a little bit of summer snuck its way into February here in San Francisco. To take best advantage of the sun and the three-day weekend, we set a theme for ourselves: a long walk to a different neighborhood each day where we would get ice cream at one of the city’s many fancy ice cream shops.

We kicked things off on Saturday with a walk down to Dogpatch, a neighborhood just a bit south of the baseball stadium and very much in transition over the last few years. Dogpatch has been one of our favorite areas for longer weekend runs as it’s usually quiet on weekend mornings, plus there are nice views and breezes along the Bay and there are a bunch of cute restaurants and food shops. (more…)

Sometimes you need a quick, easy hike with great views and an excuse to go to Sol Food for dinner. The Tennessee Valley trail has become our go-to for these situations.

We needed some time out of the city, but we didn’t have time for a full day hike, so we made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge and, after checking to make sure traffic on Hwy 1 wasn’t too horrible, wound our way through Marin neighborhoods to the Tennessee Valley trailhead.

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First of all, yes, we know, we’ve been gone from the interwebs for far too long. Don’t worry, we’ve still been hiking. We just haven’t been so good about chronicling our hikes.

But we tried something new last weekend that we want to tell you about.

We did our first trail run.

That’s right, your CityGirls are now officially among those crazy people who go running on hiking trails. It all started when we decided to run a half marathon. Did we consider ourselves runners when we made this decision? no. Had we ever run a race before? well, AM has, but T-bell has not. Had we ever run more than 5 miles, much less 10 or 13? ummm…

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