Monday, February 17, 2014

Steep Ravine

Steep Ravine Cabin

My former ex took me camping near Mount Tamalpais for Valentine's Day. California's northern coast is even more gloriously melancholy than it is notoriously cold. When we were there, the actual temperature was mild, but everything felt on the brink of rain. Soft, opaque mist blended the ocean into the sky; the horizon was like a fold of moire fabric.

Wave-soaked rocks provided a harsh contrast to the pale expanse of ocean. On the cliffs above the shore, ice plants spread out like residue from a particularly strong sunset.

Ice plants

I wish I could find words to evoke the feeling of vastness: so much water and so much air. Although where we stayed wasn't true wilderness. Aside from the cluster of cabins, there was a well-walked path to our campsite, and when the fog burned off we could see San Francisco. But clambering down to the deserted beach was enough isolation for us.

We certainly weren't alone! I almost stepped on an orange-bellied newt that was wriggling on the ground like a silly drunk. Indignant ravens woke us up and chased a hawk out of their territory. While going to refill a water bottle, I glimpsed a coyote leaping through the brush. Best of all was the pod of dolphins who drew slow arcs in the seaspray with their dorsal fins.

dolphins on the Northern California coast


  1. I love camping and hiking so much :-) You think I'd get sick of it, what with all the hauling too and fro between dungeons and catacombs, but stepping out into the wilderness still makes me deeply happy every time!

    1. I don't get out into nature enough! It's always such a pleasure.

  2. Yay for awesome camping! What a breathtaking location!

    And omigosh I have the most perverse desire to vandalize a museum by grabbing that dress, wearing it, and twirling around while singing.

    1. Eh, the Met can deal with it :D

    2. It's not like they were using it.


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