A Sunday departure at 9:00 a.m. allowed us to skip San Francisco’s infamous traffic and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It marked my first clear view of Alcatraz and the impressive port view of San Francisco as I peered behind me in the window. The sun poked through over the city but we were enveloped in early morning’s fog off the Pacific crossing into Marin County.
In about 30 minutes we had left the city center, held our breath along steep and winding cliff sides and parked at Muir Beach.
We started up the dirt trails which narrow and lead you the Pacific’s rim, a long peer downward into the whitewater of an intimidating ocean. We would be strolling the dramatic coastline in the area of Muir Woods, named for John Muir — an environmental conservationist largely responsible for encouraging F.D.R. to preserve land and parks, like Yosemite.
Continue the path to Pirate’s Cove. After a steep, heart racing climb and a few snaking miles the path merges with some wooden steps which lead you down (despite knowing you will have to climb up again) until you reach a steep, rocky rubble, and at the bottom, a beach.
It’s a small black sand beach with two large boulders dropped in the middle and surrounded cliffs and resting hawks.
The power of the ocean is palpable as waves creep up as high as 10 feet and then almost fool you into being inviting before they tear at the coast moments later.
We climbed back up the rubble wall, employing hands and feet to balance and secure ourselves back to the path.
To celebrate our successful excursion we grabbed brunch at the nearby Pelican Inn — a Scottish inspired inn which transports you from northern California to deep in the highlands.
I sipped a kir royale and dined on liver and onion at a wooden table lit by candle.
Alas it was time to leave beautiful Muir Woods and so we returned toward San Francisco where the morning fog had lifted and the sun shone brightly. One last stop before the Golden Gate, we went to Bocce Bar in Sausalito taking in our afternoon coffees and beers, and the marina view.