The Ever Changing Point Reyes National Seashore

Friday, May 10, 2013:

We all woke up very hungry from our first day of backpacking and we quickly started making coffee and breakfast.  I brought Nido powdered milk for my toddlers but my super picky eater son wouldn't drink it and of course my daughter ate everything in sight.  I couldn't figure out what to have for breakfast so we had instant oatmeal and added some powdered milk to make it "fattier".  We also brought Mini-Wheat's Cereal for the kids in case they didn't want the oatmeal, but I eventually convinced my son to eat oatmeal.  Sometimes I think my son survives on air, but I knew if he didn't eat something he would have a miserable day.  Thankfully after a while, he had some food and became a happier little boy.

Foggy Morning at Glen Camp
It was a very foggy morning and none of the other campers had arrived yet so it was a very quiet morning other than my toddlers squealing. We "quickly" cleaned up and got our packs ready for our day's hike to Alamere Falls.  It was a 3 mile hike (Glen Camp Loop-Stewart Trail) to Wildcat Campground and then a 1.1 mile hike to Alamere Falls. That was our plan, an 8.2 mile round trip for the whole day with our much lighter packs so we could also hike faster.

David hiking on Glen Camp Trail
Glen Camp Loop Trail was fairly flat with a very low grade uphill climb to Glen Trail.  Glen Trail was also a fire road like Bear Valley Trail but it was very beautiful.  Park Rangers were out for their morning routes in their trucks and we saw one horse rider and then we did not see anyone until we reached Wildcat Camp.  We nicknamed a section of this trail, "Nana's Fairyland" because it seemed like a very magical place.

Can you find the spider?

We walked along a portion of the trail where there were hundreds and hundreds of plants (pictured above) that were covered with dew. My daughter walked up to the plants and happily poked the plants so the water trickled down to the ground.  We looked at my daughter and she had a grin from ear to ear and my husband said he could imagine her imagining fairies popping out from the plants.  It really looked like something out of a fairyland story book!  The landscape looked like it should belong in a magical land where fairies, elves and other creatures would be roaming around.  I could see my children's imagination in their faces and I loved it!

Foggy Stewart Trail
The landscape was always changing, one of my favorite things about Point Reyes! The first portion of Glen Trail was very covered woodsy trail which included "Nana's Fairyland".  Stewart Trail opened up to over looking a small wooded valley and then opened up to the view of Wildcat Campground and the Pacific Ocean.  It was very refreshing to see the ocean.  I love the ocean because it's so big, open and knowing that it is the end of the land until Asia.  I love the ocean.

We debated about camping here, but it would have been a longer hike into camp and I read that it could be extremely windy and wet.  Normally I wouldn't care if it was windy and wet but I wanted our first family backpacking experience to be an enjoyable one, so we picked the protected Glen Camp.  My daughter fell asleep at this point in my carrier and I was terribly hot because the fog cleared, it was an opened non-shaded trail and I couldn't take off my sweater.  I hiked as quickly as I could down to Wildcat Campground.

I also decided to use my front day pack (the top portion of my Gregory Deva 70) so I could comfortable carry one of my kids on my back, which worked out pretty well.  It was a somewhat steep trail down to Wildcat Campground but it was doable without my hiking poles.  When we made it to Wildcat Campground we took a little break and my daughter woke up.  My son, David had seen the ocean from the trail so he was already excited to go to the beach but it was still another 1.1 miles to Alamere Falls, up another hill.  We decided to take a longer break at the Wildcat Beach and then hike to Alamere Falls.  When my daughter saw the beach, her reaction was priceless! She literally screamed "THE BEACH!!!!!", put her hands on her face, screamed with joy and did a little dance.  That is the truth.

There was a little creek that flowed into the ocean which of course the kids were immediately drawn too. After about 15 minutes of being there +Jesse Avery and I realized we weren't going to make it to Alamere Falls.  The kids were never going to want to leave this place, they were having so much fun splashing in the water, rolling in the sand and throwing rocks.  We could actually see Alamere Falls from the beach and it looked like we could walk to it but we read that the tide can come in all the way to the cliffs and we didn't want to risk getting stranded out there.

Alamere Falls in the distance, so close yet so far away....

We had our Chicken Pita Lunch on the beach and tried to relax on the beach while the kids played on the beach.  The difference between hiking/backpacking before kids and after having kids is that you can never truly have a break! We tried to rest but one of the kids always needed us to clean sand out of their mouth or we had to observe that they didn't go too deep into the creek, etc.

My husband was really amazed that our kids were not cold because we were freezing, especially myself! I don't know what's been going on with my body lately but anytime I finish exercising I immediately get really cold and stay cold for a long time.  My kids on the other hand were dressed in what they were born in, splashing in the water!  My kids eventually got cold and we dressed them in dry clothes and they had a screaming tearful, almost tantrum goodbye from the beach.  There was no way we were going to make it to Alamere time.

We rearranged our packs again and my son (who threw the borderline tantrum) was very tired and needed to take a nap.  I told him he could ride in my carrier and he happily went on my back.  Of course he took a nap on the hardest part of the uphill trail and my husband slowly walked with our daughter because she was determined to walk herself.  We were not in a rush so we took our time, not like I could run up the mountain with my three year old toddler on my back.  We took Stewart Trail (0.9 miles) to Coast Trail which I highly recommend.  It was a very beautiful trail with views of Wildcat Campground, the Pacific Ocean and Wildcat Lake which we had not seen.

Wildcat Lake from Coast Trail
Coast Trail was more "coast-like" trail, short stubby plants and drier than the earlier day's hike, it was windier as well.  Sophia was falling asleep on Jesse's shoulders and I was pretty exhausted from carrying David up Stewart Trail so we stopped in the only shaded portion of the trail for a break.  We tried laying the kids down on our jackets but they didn't survive the transfer and woke up, so Jesse and I laid down while the kids rolled around and had snacks.  Coast Trail had abundant amounts Poison Oak so we made sure that our break area was clear of it.  All I remember from our break was looking up at the sky and seeing the fog roll in and out, it truly reminded me of hiking in the cloud forests of Peru.

Coast Trail eventually became a single track trail and we only passed two hikers who admired us for backpacking with our kids.  One guy said "I saw you guys down at Wildcat and I thought wow!"  I really don't know why people think it's unimaginable to hike with kids, its certainly hard but we love spending outdoor time with our kids. They have taught us to see the smallest things on the trail that I would never stop to see like....

Ladybugs, Flowers, and Wild Strawberries!

 Thank you to my children to allow me to enjoy the little things in life!

Sophia, our Mountain Baby....

David, our Cowboy...

The kids were starting to reach their limit again and we had about a mile of so left picked the pace as well as the kids so we could make it back to camp before sunset and not have to cook in the dark again.  I was terribly paranoid that my son was going to jump in poison oak so I was glad he was riding on "daddy's shoulders".  A few pictures from Coast Trail.....

My friend called this, "Into the Wild".

Beautiful flowers were all along the trail
All in all we made it back to camp with lots of day light to spare so we could actually "relax" as much as parents can with two toddlers.  I was hoping to see some wildlife but we only got to see cute quails roaming around the trails.  We did see beautiful changing landscapes which is always nice to see.  We also had more campers when we returned to Glen Camp, a troop of Boy Scouts and their leaders.  My daughter and I were the only women there for a long time then I saw a few more women hikers arrive later in the evening to set up camp in the campsites behind us.

We had dinner, cleaned up, took a little tour of the whole campground and tried to find some sun to warm up.  My daughter had a late afternoon nap so she wasn't ready to go to sleep but my son was exhausted.  The problem with my son is that the more exhausted he get the harder it is for him to sleep.  He eventually fell asleep and about after an hour of rearranging our packs and cleaning, the rest of us went to sleep.  It was a good day.


Hiked 6.3 miles, in 7 hours but half of the time we were not moving, lunch, breaks, etc.

Elevation: Lowest point - Sea Level 0 Feet, Highest Point 900 Feet

Glen Camp Loop Trail - Glen Trail - Stewart Trail - Coast Trail - Glen Trail - Glen Camp Loop