National Parks


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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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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Took a stroll through the eucalyptus and pine scrub of the Presidio after work today.

Chancing upon a patch of sun-ripened, summer sweet blackberries is more than enough reward for the quick pace up the hill. The patch has been picked over in spots easy to reach from the trail. I’m not the only one who can’t resist berries right off the vine.

But if you know where to look behind the branches and under the leaves, there are ripe, juicy berries waiting still.

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wood-pattern

Check out the great artwork bark beetles did in this fallen log!

Stay tuned, and we’ll tell you all about our great hike down the Peninsula with the Woodswoman.

The hiking book: Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area
The distance: 9 miles
The CityGirls rating: 9

Our good friend TheSailor came to visit just after the new year and wanted a hike to the ocean that wasn’t too hilly. We didn’t have to think too far back for just the right trail, so off we went to Point Reyes to revisit the Bear Valley trail and Arch Rock.

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The hiking book: Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area
The distance: 9 miles
The CityGirls rating: 8

The ocean was calling to us last month.

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Our friend S was dog-sitting for the weekend, and we joined her and her two charges for a romp at Fort Funston.

beach

The dogs were ever so excited to go to the beach. They practically bowled us over when we showed up at their house and would not sit still the whole car ride to Fort Funston. In fact, when we hit the coast and turned on to the Great Highway, both dogs started whining like the whole world was on fire. But no, they were just that excited.

down-to-the-beach

Fort Funston, for those who haven’t been, is THE doggy beach in San Francisco and it was teeming with pups on this sunny holiday. There were dogs chasing balls on the bluffs, dogs slurping water from the numerous doggy bowls that surrounded each water fountain, dogs sniffing each others’ butts… it was quite the canine social scene.

We made our way down onto the beach itself, and the two puppers could no longer contain themselves they were so excited. The little pup insisted we throw the ball for her, while the larger pup beelined for the water.

pupper-on-the-move

We picked up a couple doggy friends along the way, including a corgi who was just as excited to play fetch as the little pup. The larger pup, who isn’t really that large, decided he only wanted to hang with the big dogs (even though they were twice his size).

good-dog

After all the fun and games, we took home two tired pups.

One was completely sand-logged from running into the waves and then rolling around in the sand and both were oh so happy and exhausted.

 

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