Toby & Matthew hike the Cataract Falls Trail!

Toby and I went camping this weekend!  Since it’s summer time, it’s pretty impossible to get a campsite anywhere in the state without a reservation.  Most campsites fill up months before summer even gets here, but thankfully there are a handful of campgrounds available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Two of them are right here, just a little over an hour away from my house on Mt. Tam:  Pantoll Campground and Boonjack Campground are both dog-friendly and offer picnic tables, boxes, water and restrooms (no showers!).   It’s the perfect getaway and offers a TON of hikes right in the area.  Unfortunately the trails that go right through our campground are not dog friendly, so we had to drive a bit to get to the Marin Municipal Water District Land, which allows dogs on leash.

But first, coffee!

The drive should have only been about 20 minutes, but we encountered a road that was closed and didn’t open until 9am, so instead of waiting 90 minutes for it to open, I took a different route, which made the drive about 45 minutes.  We started above the clouds, ended up inside the clouds and then it cleared up for our hike!

Above the clouds!

In the clouds

Toby is ready to hike (Alpine Lake)

The Cataract Falls hike offers a lot of different trails.  To keep it simple, I opted for the almost four mile out and back.  There was a lot of elevation in this hike and since Toby and I haven’t hiked in a while, I thought I’d just stick to this one trail.  The halfway point offers a nice little picnic area with tables and trash cans.  If you want, you can make it a giant loop by adding three other trails that all connect.  We will come back again and add some miles to the hike to see more of the area.  This was a great beginner hike, despite the 1000 feet of elevation.  It was well-maintained with stairs and even rails in some parts.

Also, despite the water levels being pretty tame since it hasn’t rained in a while, the creek and the trickling falls were awesome.  This hike was really calming and was the perfect “reset” that I was looking for!

After our hike, we headed over to Bolinas to check out the very dog-friendly beach.  Bolinas beach is a pretty well kept secret that the locals in Bolinas want to keep that way.  They have a reputation for being not very welcoming to outsiders, but Toby and I had a great time.  This is a beach where dogs can be off-leash, so Toby got to run and play with a few new friends.

It’s a very popular surf spot, in addition to the regulars there were a bunch of kids learning how to surf.  Definitely a sport I’d like to get into in the future.

We chilled on the beach, people watching and playing with other dogs — just a really relaxed, awesome day!  The sun finally came out after noon and then we headed to Stinson Beach for lunch before heading back to camp.

Already planning our next camping getaway!   Have dog, will travel!