Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mt. Tamalpais State Park, CA: OPERATION CRYSTAL POWER, ACCOMPLISHED

wake up to this! @ steep ravine

I can't express the satisfaction I'm feeling after finally executing a plan that's been MONTHS in the making!!

Back in July 2008 when Katie, Laura, and I hung out with some locals in Bolinas, we met a guy who told us about nearby sulphuric hot spring that form during the low tide. His description painted a truly unforgettable Northern California experience. WANT!!!! He drew us a map in Laura's moleskin and gave us directions that must have seemed super explicit to the stoned boomer. They were actually quite vague. But we swore we would realize the adventure!! Then Laura lost her moleskin. Setbacks.

Fast forward to June 2009. Ben, Pete, Katie, and I were making dinner one night when Ben brought up his visit some months back to the hot springs. BINGO! We instantly began researching the tide calendars for the area and found a campsite nearby. I called the next day and made a camp reservation for the nearest available date that worked with the tide predictions. December 4th/5th. DONE AND DONE!

As the date approached, I admit that I was feeling anxious about the trip. I'm a city person and don't feel comfortable in nature. It doesn't feel natural! I didn't love the idea of missing 90's night to freeze my tush off on the December coastline either. I admit that I considered NOT going (!). Luckily, my wonderful arboreal friends forged on with the plan. The rest is history.

We drove up after dark to the Steep Ravine Campsite in Mt. Tamalpais State Park on Friday. Our crew for the night included me, Lula (stowaway!), Shrimp, Pete, Melinda, and Samantha. Our campsite was in a beautiful, secluded area atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific. It was a foggy night so we were hardly cold. We prepared a gourmet feast with both vegetarian and omnivorous iterations. We had a really fun night dancing around the campfire until 3am - and were even visited by a pair of guileful raccoons.

In the morning the view of Stinson Bay was even more breathtaking. We ate breakfast at camp then drove into Stinson Beach for coffee (we forgot the French press! grrr!). We walked along Stinson's shores. Sam and Lula headed back to the city. Pete, Shrimp, Melina, and I set off to explore the exact site of that night's hot springs. Since the location is revealed by word of mouth alone, we had to investigate several possible trails. We met a quartet of naked locals at the bottom of one path deep into the rocky cliffs of the bay. Though reluctant at first, the gave us specific directions to the hot springs. YES!

Andy, Ben Hyphen, Steve, and their friend Carmen came up for the afternoon and we went over to Bolinas for a walk on the beach. We came back and got the fire and dinner preparations going. Ben and his friends Mark and Paul arrived. The day trippers left. Then, just when we thought she was stuck in the city with a broken fan belt, Laura pulled up in Coco! Such a wonderful twist!

The nine of us piled into the van and drove to the head of the trail. The descent from the highway to the ocean is quite precarious. The terrain is steep and rocky and there were few headlamps among us. After about 25 minutes we reached the area where the cliffs crumble into boulders and meet the surf. Hidden behind the boulders, a wall of rocks encased a large pool of hot water. The scent of sulphur was unmistakable. We stripped down and joined the lot of mysterious bodies in the water. Between the exertion from the hike and the heat from the springs, we didn't feel cold, despite the wind howling off the water. We were nestled in pretty closely: one headcount reported 29 people present. It was hard to make out the faces of our fellow bathers but everyone was friendly. All of them lived in the neighborhood and had been coming to this spot for many years. Most were aging hippies, several with ponytails. I had never seen so many saggy white asses in my life! Joints passed around and we sang songs beneath the clear sky. I saw a shooting star too! After a while the waves came in and began to hit the pool. The temperature of the water dropped as the tide rose. We scrambled back up to the rocks and got dressed. This was tricky since it was so dark and slippery. While stepping back into my underpants a woman standing behind me - in a similar state of undress - slipped on a rock and took me down with her. Ouch! Apart from the resulting scrapes, we all made it back to the campsite in once piece and continued the merriment (of course we brought the bongo! and a tambourine, recorder, and mandolin!).

We nature lovers returned to the rainy city today, mission accomplished. FANTASTIC!!!!

(perhaps more photos to follow - my camera broke so I'm relying my fellow campers)

5 comments:

Heather said...

Ruby? Outside? The closet I could get Julia to the outside in Manhattan was the M64 bus.

I guess she loves us less.

Larry Farmsworth said...

U R such a Hippie! Where were you during my Bisco Discuits days? By the way, "saggy, white asses" should be sans comma. Coordinate vs. cumulative adjectives.

Miss you!

Chris

Larry Farmsworth said...

By the way, this blog is sick.

Ruby Fuerza AKA Lucille Brawl said...

YES! ALWAYS LOOKING FOR A COPY EDITOR!
xx

Daniel said...

Hi ruby, my name is Daniel and I'm an Italian student of Architecture in Rome University.
I'm looking for infomration about the place you'd visited in Mount Tamalpais State Park CA: the sulphur spring between the rocks.
It's very important because this is the argument of my final thesis at university so I would ask you some information or photos of this place.
Please contact me!
My e-mail is: green.moon@hotmail.it

Thank you very much,

Daniel