How to Hike Alamere Falls
Whenever I make plans for an excursion during my travels, they never go accordingly. And of course, they don’t, because that is what makes them all the more fun. I still plan every time though…
Pop My plan was to wake up around 10 am and leave the house no later than 11 am. The Point Reyes Coastal Trail hike was supposed to take a total of 4 hours. However, this recommended “4 hours” hiking time did not include the amount of time you would want to spend once reaching the final destination. And the problem with that was, once we got there we didn’t want to leave.
The starting point for our hike was a little less than 2 hours east from Walnut Creek, California. That meant if we left the house at 11…got there around 1…hiked there, hiked back… we would be back to the car by 5 and have plenty of time to make our 7:15 dinner reservation in downtown San Francisco! Naturally, this perfect plan was meant to fail. Scrambling to get out the door half past 12, we finally began to embark on our journey to the waterfall that touches the ocean.
We began our hike about 2 hours behind schedule. In order to make the reservation, there was only one thing to do — RUN.
Yes, we decided the only way to cut the 4 hour hiking time in half would be to run as much as we could throughout the trails. With only two bottles of water, Converse and Sperrys on our feet, and no snacks, this was probably not the smartest idea. Especially since this trail was meant to be appreciated. At the end of each tunnel of trees was a new sight to admire.
The trail begins on top of sandy cliffs above the ocean, followed by a labyrinthine trek through enormous hills and abundant forests. There was no way we could sprint through the majority of this beauty…or uphill. But we were on a tight schedule, so we tried whenever we could.
After shaving off maybe a half hour, we approached the first home stretch (we would still have to hike the entire way back).
About an hour and a half were spent on Coast Trail before a tiny sign covered in shrubs pointed us toward Alamere Falls. We made our way through the narrow maze of leaves until we saw the ocean again.
But where was the waterfall?
The beach was about 100ft below us, so we quickly realized the only way to the falls would be to scale down the side of the cliff! The amount of traction provided by our inadequate footwear made the descent all the more dangerous… and exciting.’
Gripping onto the sides of the dusty cliff’s edges and slowly lowering myself down each ledge was one of the most adventurous things I’ve ever done. The difficulty was no disruption, but more of a welcome challenge.
Realizing I will have to scale down this cliff….
I was beaming when I finally saw what we had come for.
The beach was nearly spotless, just the way I like it. Well, aside from the pesky seagulls (which were soon taken care of by some crazy dude running and screaming at them on the beach…)
Listening to the flow of the waterfall and the ocean’s gentle tide offered such tranquility, I nearly forgot about our impending reservation. Once again, I wanted to build a giant sandcastle to live inside of on that beach. But time was of the essence, and it was already 5pm.
We said our goodbyes to the beach and the ocean as we climbed back up the cliffs and into the trees. I was convinced we would miss our reservation.
Despite throbbing feet and empty stomachs, we managed to get back to the car by 6:30pm. The restaurant was technically only 19 miles, yet because of the tiny, twisting roads and eventual city traffic it would take just over an hour to get there. But with the power of speeding the car and stalling my mother, we managed to make it to The Slanted Door. We just weren’t on time.
After hiking over 8 miles underneath the heat of the Californian sun, I was ready to feast. Although I was initially unsure of the whole Vietnamese food thing, I was soon to change my mind after experiencing the incredible meal (or maybe I was just really hungry and anything would have tasted amazing).
So, how do you hike 8 miles to a waterfall and still make your fancy restaurant reservation?
1) WAKE UP EARLY, but lay in bed for a while afterwards and keep stalling until you actually HAVE to leave.
2) Don’t wear proper hiking shoes, Converse and/or Sperry’s might do you just fine.
3) Don’t pack much food, because you’ll want to be extra hungry for that reservation
4) DO BRING WATER.
5) Attempt to run the trail a few times, but then give up because the views are too amazing to just zip by.
6) Appreciate life for a few moments once you do reach that waterfall.
7) Make your way back, GPS the fastest route, and speed your way to the restaurant!
If you wish to do it with less pressure, it might be best to plan ahead… But where’s the adventure in that, right?