Over Labor Day weekend we used public transportation to get to Point Reyes National Seashore. At the last minute, Matt happened to refresh the reservations page when there was a cancellation at Wildcat Campground. He booked it immediately and then called to tell me.
And so in the middle of moving and having wonderful visitors, we headed out on another adventure for two nights. Although Point Reyes is only an hour and a half drive from Oakland, we do not have a car and thus depended on public transportation.
While Google Maps will give you directions (take the BART to Richmond, then take the 42 bus headed West, then catch the 68 to Inverness) it will not always show delays due to accidents, traffic, or police activity and it may not reflect the reduced holiday schedule. Sometimes Google Maps DOES show those things — just enough for me to let my guard down and trust that the estimated 2 hours and 42 minutes would not take 5 or 6 hours.
Yep, it took us about 6 hours to get there, complete with a tiny (public and so wonderful!) bus that traveled from tiny town to tiny town and down dirt roads.
Well, now we know.
Once we arrived at Bear Valley Visitor’s Center, we began our 6.3 mile hike in to Wildcat Campground. The first part was along a flat dirt road and really easy. By the time we got to the more strenuous part, we were walking in the dark and it was hard to see where we were going but we kept up a brisk pace. By this point we really hungry! Every time I moved my flashlight to the side of the trail I found red eyes staring back at me and that was also pretty good incentive to keep going.
When we came around the last corner that opened up to the bluff we were greeted with the sound of the ocean and shouts and cheers from campers below who thought we were their (very late) friends. It took us another 20 minutes to wind our way down the hill to the open meadow below.
After we found our campground, we set up camp, cooked dinner, and relaxed. We had heard Wildcat Campground is one of the most beautiful camps, nestled in a meadow only steps from the ocean, but with my muscles aching (I borrowed a friend’s pack and didn’t have it tightened correctly), stomach growling, and the dark, we waited until morning to explore.
And wow… California continues to amaze me!
Carrying breakfast down to the beach.
The view from the perch near our campground Seriously! Campground number 7 is right here… we were at campground number 8 but climbed up the hill for the view. All the campgrounds are really close to the ocean! 8 is right next to (I think) 4 so if you want privacy don’t get either of those two. But we were totally fine.
We were the only ones on the beach in the morning except for this guy who quickly hid under the sand. His disappearing act was kind of amazing.
The ocean was way too cold to swim in (between 50-60 degrees) without a buddy and Matt refused to get in with me. He doesn’t like swimming in cold water.
We never do research before these last minute trips so we end up stumbling on beautiful things like this and feel so tickled!
Later in the day on Sunday we tried hiking out to find a lake to swim in, but the bugs were awful—the kind where you can’t breathe or speak without getting some in your mouth—and the sun very strong so we returned to the safety of the beach.
This is the view of our campground from above. At other times of the year, this is much more green and covered in wildflowers!
The fog coming in off the ocean made it a lot cooler and that’s why you see us going from being barely clothed and then with all of our layers.
For anyone who wants to plan a trip, we would love to be the ones at the bottom of the hill, drinking wine and sitting around our campfire waving our flashlights at you to come join us! Matt and I both agree that the only thing missing from all of our adventures is YOU!
Courtesy of the NPS webpage: Did you know? A 1° F increase in average temperature seen in California over the last 100 years has led to Sierra snow melting 2 to 4 weeks earlier and flowers blooming 1 to 2 weeks earlier. Temperatures are predicted to increase another 1° to 2° F in the next 25 years.2