41 miles divided by 4 miles an hour would easily get us into Pt. Reyes by teatime. Fueled with hearty Guinness from the night before, we set off from my apartment near Alamo Square Park in the City at 04:35AM on June 20th. Five blocks down Scott St., my back already started hurting! Stiff upper lip, as the Brits say. We arrived to the bay and found ourselves befogged and dripping, the Golden Gate Bridge's fog horn beckoning to us like the Eye of Sauron.
Once on the bridge, we proceeded north, suicide prevention phones appearing every 20 yards. "There is Hope" written on each one. Hope appeared in the form of light, the sun's rays reflected off the bay waters under the dense fog bank to the east. We ascended the Marin Headlands, and the sound of passing vehicles sounded like increasingly distant waves crashing on the coast.
Later, at a more reasonable hour for Saturday morning strollers, we consumed our first Snickers bars, and lo and behold I passed a woman who shrieked "Doug Wallace?!?" There was Lara, my old pal and date for the Junior Prom 20+ years ago, now on my trail, doing her Saturday constitutional. After a brief reminisce and promises of dinner with new spouses, Justin and I tore off down the trail. We were now 10 miles into it.
On the Miwok Trail, my soul had submitted to my body, which had become a walking machine at this point. Rhythmic motion, blood pumping, regular breathing, my mind was almost devoid of thought. Down the trail I found myself alone. Running back, I found Justin. "Gettin' a bit nackered, mate." Do the British still in fact do things in the name of the Queen, I wondered? Alas, we staggered up to the Pantoll ranger station and campground and consumed lunch: Bread. Humus. Snickers. Apricots. Off with the wet socks; on with the moleskin. 20 miles in and a liter of water in my belly, we set off again along the ridge above the ocean. I recited to Justin a little Henry V, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, for he who walks to Pt. Reyes with me today will be my brother!" He quickly fell behind.
Throughout the afternoon, the Pacific fog gently buffered us from direct sunlight, and the round yellow grass hills shrouded in puffy fog gave me the illusion of walking upon a massive golden cloud. Ever onwards, the Coastal Trail did not want to stop. Out of water now. One apricot left. We trudged northwards in our body machines, finally onto the Bolinas Ridge Trail, through beautiful live oak and eucalyptus groves, the afternoon sun coaxing us ever faster. Down the wretched McCurdy Trail of decomposed granite scree we scurried to the Shoreline Highway.