Queremos aventura, algo diferente! My friend, Lorena has caught the “Outdoor Adventure Bug” as I call it. I had to find a hike that lived up to our previous adventures like Rancho Corral de Tierra at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We tossed around ideas like Mt. Tamalapais, Pinnacles National Park, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, but nothing sat well with me. I literally spent days looking for an adventurous place to hike, especially since Lorena and her husband Eliu had just returned from an Anniversary trip to the sierras, and then I found Pirates Cove….
I was scouring the Marin Headlands – Golden Gate National Recreation Area map when I saw Pirates Cove halfway between the very popular Muir Beach and Tennessee Cove. There were no roads and it was a longer hike to Pirates Cove compared to Muir Beach and Tennessee Cove, it seemed like the perfect place to have our little adventure.
Bright and early the NINE of us started hiking on a cold, foggy morning. Talk about a big hiking group, but you know how it goes with Latinos when the invitation keeps on getting extended to friends and more friends. I love it but I had to make sure everyone had enough water and snacks. We all started hiking together but because of our toddlers, my husband and I hiked at the end of the pack. I forgot to tell the front of the pack to wait for us at the trail junctions but they figured it out and waited for us. We hiked first to Coyote Ridge, along the way we saw the sun break through the clouds and the fog dissipate, we talked about gear, hiking with kids and the landscape with the tail end of our group.
When we all met up that the Coyote Ridge junction we all relaxed, had snacks and switched packs. Yes switched packs….my friends have been “adopted” by Rosy, the matriarch of the group. All my friends have their parents back in Mexico and El Salvador and Rosy takes care of them like her own, which is really awesome. Rosy made our friend, David carry my pack because it’s the more “gentleman” thing to do. I wasn’t struggling but I let him carry it, I could imagine my mom asking the same thing of my brothers.
Lorena brought bubbles so our toddlers could chase on the trail, which worked out great because that allowed our toddlers to keep up with the rest of the group. Slight downhill and bubbles = toddlers running down the trail! The fog finally lifted as we came down Coast Fire Road and to my surprise we saw the beautiful Muir Beach. I wasn’t expecting to be able to see Muir Beach… it looked even nicer because we hiked, rather than driving up to it. Looks more beautiful when you work for it.
We took our money shots above Muir Beach and headed down a single track path on Coastal Trail to Pirates Cove. My husband led the way and I loved seeing our entire group hiked on the single track from the back of the group. It made us look like little ants and I had flashbacks of hiking on the Inca Trail with the fog rolling in and out all the way to Pirates Cove. Our group were mostly musicians – guitarists, singers and pianists, we talked about music a lot but Lorena and Eliu were very interested in a trail called “The John Muir Trail” which they read about while visiting Sequoia National Park the week before.
Well let just say we talked all about the John Muir Trail, concepts of backpacking, preparation and hopefully a future epic trip. I congratulated them in their interest in their next level of hiking: Backpacking!
Just below us, down a very steep and rugged trail was Pirates Cove. My toddlers got terribly excited when they finally saw the beach especially when they heard the “Pirate Ships” aka ship fog horns. I tried explaining to my kids that they were fog horns but I could see their imagination playing out in their minds about the pirate ships, so I let it be. I could only imagine the fog horns were coming from container ships that go under the Golden Gate Bridge, it just added adventure! My kids ran off to play in the sand, others explored the rocks, enjoyed hot drinks while lunch was prepared.
We all had a great time exploring the beach and I was glad the tide was far enough out to enjoy the beach. Some climbed the giant rock planted in the middle of the beach and I explored the muscles attached to the rocks with my kids. I was hoping to see more sea life but all I saw were the muscles and a little crab the scurried into the rocks.
The fog never lifted during our exploration of Pirates Coves and everyone started getting a little chilly so we packed up to headed back up the Coastal Trail. It was a fairly steep hike and there was some questioning of the directions, so I pulled out my phone to double check our GPS location and everything was fine. We finally made it back to the ridge near Tennessee Valley Trail and there were lots of people, so that made our group feel better.
I realized that over a decade of hiking, I’ve been unknowingly learning the geography of the Bay Area and my friends had not, so they really had no reference point of which way we were hiking. I know what Mt. Tamalpais looks like, referenced it to Twin Peak Towers peaking above the clouds and found us on a map. So it surprised me when my friends were surprised to see Twin Peaks Towers and not know in what general direction we were going. I’m just glad they trust me a lot!
The remainder of the hike, going down Tennessee Valley Trail was favorite portion hike after Pirates Cove. The sun was shining, the fog rolled in and out over and over again. My kids happily chased the bubbles again, my daughter was in “The Groove” hiking zone and we even had to stop hiking to see how high a large bubble flew would float into the sky. We saw a barefoot-kid-carrying dad and we just stared at each other as we walked past each other, like dogs wanting to be friends (I don’t mean that in a bad way). I spent a lot of my day talking with Jexa about her new pregnancy, sharing my experiences, putting her at ease and commiserating with her about my past pregnancy woes. There was talk of more hiking, camping and backpacking over the next few months.
My favorite aspects of hiking are getting to know my friends better, talking with each other, sharing our experiences, teaching them about the outdoors and learning from them as well. There is something to be said about the outdoors that allows us to connect better with one another especially if we are from a similar background and cultures. Hasta la proxima aventura!
If you want to hike to Pirates Cove, please visit Chasqui Mom’s blog for a detailed trail report.
Melissa Avery, is a California native, 2nd generation Peruvian-American that loves to explore the outdoors in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California with her husband and two toddlers. She is also a church youth leader for Junior High and High School Students and regularly takes teenagers out on outdoor events. Read about her outdoor adventures on Chasqui Mom.com or you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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