Monday, July 7, 2008

China Camp Rediscovered

China Camp
(Bay View- Oak Ridge- Peacock Gap- Shoreline)
(9.11 miles)

What's wrong with me? Why do I forget about how much I love China Camp? I haven't run here for over a year, and I'm not sure why. 'Tis true, China Camp does not offer huge mileage (although I think you could cobble together a longer loop if you added another trail and an out-and-back section), and once you get past the first section, there's not much steep climbing up or down, there is a plethora of mountain bikers, and you can't take dogs to China Camp. All that being said, China Camp is a gorgeous little piece of Marin, and the trails are absolutely worth exploring.

I parked near the Back Ranch entrance, on Point San Pedro road. If you want to pay the $5, you can park inside the park entrance, but ample parking exists for the cheapskates amongst us. From there, I took the Bay View Trail. For the first two miles, the trail climbs through madrones and manzanitas, but always in the sun. This was a rough start to the run, because today was hot. Very hot. After that though, the trail dips into groves of bay trees and redwoods, providing a welcome respite from the sun. All along the trail, when the trees have an open space, the views of the Bay (hence the name)
are beautiful. Really, I don't think I went more than 3-5 minutes of running without a (usually stunning) view today, which is why I'm confused by my neglect of this park.

I think it was up on Patrick's Point that I was treated to this one-- in case you were wondering why the housing prices in Marin are so ridiculous, this shot should explain it. The bridge in the background is how you get to the 'hood of Richmond-- I used to take that bridge every day, and I must say, it has a beautiful view as well.

After Patrick's Point, the trail winds down to the Shoreline trail. It never actually runs along the shoreline (which is gener ally a protected marsh), but this trail is a winner, treating you to one shot of the bay after another.

This area is named after a community of Chinese fishermen who lived here with their families in the 1880s. According to the State Park website, up to 500 people lived here. Remnants of the village still exist, but the trail I was on did not circle through the village, which was on the other side of the road.

Finally, as I was finishing up my run
(a little tired from yesterday's charge up and down the mountain, I'm not going to deny), I heard a rustling in the bushes. While my first terrified thoughts were "Mountain Lion!" and then "Rattlesnake!" the
noise-makers emerged:

Wild Turkeys!

I realize this is SO déclassé in certain sections of the Bay Area, but you know what I thought about
when I saw these cute little guys?

I wonder if wild turkeys would be better roasted or barbecued?


P.O.M. said...

I would probably freak out about a Turkey just as bad as a Mountain Lion. Did they chase you and gobble gobble at your ankles? ha ha.

Derek said...

Thanks for the comments about the family, we do take a bunch of photos!! I would have had a heart attack if something came out of the brush like that!

Anne Carlson said...

And of course your first thought on seeing what Ben Franklin thought should have been our National Bird would be how to cook them.

Kim said...

MMM turkey! Well, they are actually very hard to shoot.