The Sierra Nevada mountains have always had piece of my heart… and now, more than ever. Since I was a child, I’ve called these majestic mountains home. I grew up in Lake Tahoe, nestled in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada range. I’ve covered countless trails, explored many peaks, and camped under the stars. However, it wasn’t until I hiked the High Sierra Trail (HST) that I truly had an appreciation for everything that makes these mountains so magical. Not to mention, I promised the love of my life my hand in marriage from the top of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at the end of our trip!
The HST begins in Sequoia National Park, traverses from west to east, up and over the entire width of the Sierra Range, and ends on the summit of Mount Whitney. There are countless ascents and descents, stream crossings, mountain lakes, wildflowers, and surprises around every bend of the trail.
When I first stepped foot on the trail, I didn’t realize how much it was going to change me. I knew that I would come out the other end, 72.2. miles later, dirty and tired, but I had no idea how much it would open my eyes to wild and raw beauty and love. Not only that, but I didn’t know (okay, okay, I was kind of hoping ;)) that I would start with a boyfriend and end with a fiance! On this trail, we laughed, loved, lifted each other up when needed, and shared in the endless awe of the earth we were exploring. It’s moments like these that make you feel alive.
PREPARING FOR YOUR ADVENTURE
Securing Your Wilderness Permit
As with most backpacking trails, preparation begins with securing your wilderness permit. This has to be done well in advance and it’s a good idea to check when applications will start to be accepted to make sure you get yours in as soon as they open. For the year we went, it was March 1st. I set my alarm for midnight, emailed my scanned application, and secured my first choice for July 15-22, 2018. I got four permits and quickly invited my brother, John, and his girlfriend, Asia, to join the adventure.
Packing Your Gear
If you’ve ever backpacked before, you know the basics don’t change much from two nights to seven nights. Below is a list of the basics and brands I love, and some other items that I can’t live without:
- Osprey Aura AG 65L Backpack
- Marmot Tungsten 2P UL Tent
- Marmot sleeping bag
- Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad
- Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking poles
- Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp
- Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter
- Camelback reservoir (2 L)
- BearVault BV 500
- JetBoil Flash Cooking System and fuel
- Rain gear
- Down jacket
- Three pairs of socks
- Pants, shorts, tank top, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt
- Medical kit
- Toilet paper/wipes
- Basic toiletries
- And I may have brought a chair, but totally worth it. All the ultralighters are judging me right now.
Planning Your Meals
As for food, this was probably the area where we spent the most time planning. It is challenging to make sure you have enough, but not too much food, for an eight-day trip.
A couple of years ago, I purchased a dehydrator to make my own backpacking meals. I was sick of eating prepackaged meals that cost a fortune and contained who-knows-what. It took weeks of planning, cooking, and dehydrating to make enough dinners for the seven nights on the HST. I made chili, shepherd’s pie, chicken stir fry with rice, pesto pasta primavera, green chili turkey mac and cheese, and tacos, yes, tacos. Stay tuned for recipes!
For breakfast and lunches, we had prepackaged food, tortillas, almond butter, trail mix, Stinger honey chews, bars, beef sticks, and squeeze cheese. Food that was easy to eat on the go and required minimal prep and clean-up was ideal for early in the day.
We had close to the perfect amount of food, if not a little more than needed. However, one thing that I would change is the trail mix. It was way too sweet and after hiking miles and miles, all I wanted was something salty. Cue the Wheat Thins, Pringles, and peanut butter, please!
Getting There and Back
The last thing to do was figure out logistics. As with most thru-hikes, this was by far the trickiest. We had to get down to Visalia, stay in a hotel, take a shuttle to get our permits the next morning, take another shuttle to the trailhead, hike, get a shuttle from Whitney Portal to Lone Pine, stay in a hotel, get a shuttle back to Carson City, and find a way from Carson to Tahoe. Following is how we did it.
- Getting to Visalia: We took a rental car one way from Tahoe to Visalia. Note, rental car return places in Visalia have weird weekend hours, so be sure to check drop-off times in advance.
- Staying in Visalia: We stayed at the Wyndham Visalia, which had a shuttle pick-up for Sequoia National Park at 6:00 am the next morning. The hotel was nice, but nothing fancy.
- Getting from Visalia to the Lodgepole Visitor Center: The shuttle from the hotels in Visalia cost $10/person, and you can book yours here. The drive is a little less than three hours from the hotel to the Giant Forest Museum. From here, you’ll likely have to transfer to the in-park shuttle to go to the Lodgepole Visitor’s Center, which is where you will have to physically pick-up your permits. Our shuttle driver was cool though and took us all the way to the Lodgepole Visitor Center.
- Getting from the Lodgepole Visitor Center to the Trailhead at Crescent Meadow: After you get your permit, you are going to have to take the in-park shuttle back down the road to to the Crescent Meadow trailhead.
- Exiting at Whitney Portal and Getting From There to Lone Pine: At the end of the trail, you are going to have to arrange for a ride or hitch a ride from Whitney Portal into Lone Pine. It’s 10+ miles on pavement and you will definitely want a ride. There aren’t many options, but we went with East Side Sierra Shuttle. It wasn’t cheap ($155 for four of us) and he was over an hour late. We asked the employees at the Whitney Portal Store if we should worry, and they said that was pretty common for the East Side Sierra Shuttle. Luckily the Whitney Portal Store has pretty good burgers, fries, ice cream, and beer to enjoy while we waited.
- Staying in Lone Pine: We stayed at the Dow Villa Motel, which was reasonably priced and centrally located in Lone Pine. Just make sure that you select one of the newer rooms. The older ones don’t have A/C which can be miserable in the summer.
- Getting from Lone Pine to Home: The drive from Lone Pine to Carson City is about 4.5 hours one way and the thought of friends/family picking us up was highly unlikely. The Eastern Sierra Transit Authority was great and picked us up from the McDonald’s in Lone Pine at 6:15 am sharp and dropped us off at the Carson City Walmart at 12:30 pm. It was $176 for the four of us and a generally nice ride, although took longer than usual with all the bus stops and some construction. From Carson City, we took a good ol’ Uber to Lake Tahoe.
The total length of the trail from Crescent Meadows to Whitney Portal is 72.2 miles. You can do it faster or slower than what we did, but in my opinion eight days was just enough time to cover good ground without feeling like you were rushing or missing anything.
Day-by-Day Mileage and Elevation Gain (big descents are called-out, too)
- Day 1 – Crescent Meadows to 9-Mile Creek (8.8 miles, 1,410′ ascent)
- Day 2 – 9-Mile Creek to Hamilton Lake (6.9 miles, 1,760′ ascent)
- Day 3 – Hamilton Lake to Big Arroyo Junction (7.9 miles, 2,570′ ascent)
- Day 4 – Big Arroyo Junction to Kern Hot Springs (13.9 miles, 1,250′ ascent, 3,900′ descent)
- Day 5 – Kern Hot Springs to Wallace Creek (12.4 miles, 3,600′ ascent)
- Day 6 – Wallace Creek to Guitar Lake (6.8 miles, 1,530′ ascent)
- Day 7 – Guitar Lake to Outpost Camp (11.8 miles, 3,100′ ascent, 4,200′ descent)
- Day 8 – Outpost Camp to Whitney Portal (3.6 miles, 2,150′ descent)
Thanks to my brother at jmpeltier.com for keeping track of everything with his GPS, even if he did get sick of me constantly asking, “how many more miles do we have?”
TRAIL NOTES AND PHOTOS BY DAY
Day 1: Crescent Meadows to 9-Mile Creek (8.8 miles, 1,410′ ascent)
We started early enough that it was still cool as we set out, although the temps quickly rose. Good news, there was plenty of water. Bad news, there were some really exposed sections on this part of the trail.
After about 6 hours, we made it to camp at 9-Mile Creek. There were several campsites dispersed down the creek and even a bear locker to store any food overflowing from your bear canister. You try and fit 8 days of food in a bear canister! Luckily, we also found that there were bear lockers at most sites throughout the trip.
The creek here was beautiful with some nice swimming holes to jump in to, just what you needed after a hard day’s work.
Note: A camper here told us that the deer will eat your clothes if you leave them hanging in the trees. This is also true for all other campsites on the trail. Silly deer like the salty sweat on your clothes and hiking poles, too!
Day 2 – 9-Mile Creek to Hamilton Lake (6.9 miles, 1,760′ ascent)
We started the morning with some excitement as a bear cub rolled into the side of our tent. After springing up from our sleeping bags and sticking our heads out of the tent, we saw two cubs staring back at us from behind a log and a mama who was anxious to get them on their way. It was a special moment that I’ll never forget and words would never do justice.
After that excitement, making breakfast, and breaking camp, we headed out. The forest was lush and beautiful and we eventually reached an exposed descent down to Buck Creek after about 1.5 miles. This would be another great option for camping the first night if 9-mile creek is too busy, and it also has a bear locker.
We ascended from Buck Creek to Bearpaw Meadow through a beautiful forest that was cool and damp. At Bearpaw, we took a quick snack break and stared at the view we would soon be ascending. There are several yurts at Bearpaw for people to hike into and stay at with a reservation.
After Bearpaw, the trail was mostly downhill until we reached a large gorge with a bridge spanning across. Don’t look down unless you want to see the former bridge that didn’t survive…
The next section of the trail was pretty much all uphill and exposed, crossing over the top of one of the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen.
Then more up, up, and up with Valhalla dominating the skyline above us.
We eventually reached Hamilton Lake with Valhalla behind us and the Kaweah Gap (Great Western Divide) in front of us.
We got to camp a little after 1:00, swam in the beautiful lake, ate, and looked up at the trail we would tackle the next day.
Day 3 – Hamilton Lake to Big Arroyo Junction (7.9 miles, 2,570′ ascent)
After a long night of not sleeping because marmots were scurrying around and chirping all night, we woke up at 5:30 am to break camp and head out of the basin before the sun was blasting down. It is highly advised that you get an early start here to avoid the heat.
We immediately began our uphill climb and followed a deer up some switchbacks for little bit and then she pranced off into the cliffside. Before we knew it, we were over 1,000′ from where we slept the night before and the trail turned into pure magic. Don’t get me wrong, it was still all uphill, but it was cool and crisp, full of wildflowers, birds, marmots, and chinchillas, crazy rock engineering (including a cliffside tunnel), and many waterfall crossings.
After a 2,000′ vertical foot climb and about 3 miles, we reached the gem of the Kaweah Gap, Precipice Lake. There is a small glacier toward the back of the lake, icebergs bobbing around, birds catching bugs, water trickling down the green covered cliffs, and one of the most serene scenes I have ever witnessed.
After lunch at Precipice, we had about another 400′ climb and a little over a mile to cross the famous Keweah Gap. I was so relieved to finally reach the Gap and look down into the valley we would finally descend. The sun was overhead and beginning to take its toll.
A nice trail down to the valley soon lead to a beautiful meadow and stream. After a few more miles and some stream crossings (boots and all!), we made it to Big Arroyo.
Tip here: Pass the first campsite you come to at Big Arroyo and continue for about 10 more minutes until you reach a trail spur down to the creak and pass an old log cabin. There are some great sites here and since we were the first group, we scored a great site by the river.
The afternoon consisted of dunking in the creek, playing backgammon, swatting mosquitoes, and drying our boots by our fire. Yes, you can have fires here in established pits and there is also a bear locker if you still have more food than your Bearvault can handle.
Day 4 – Big Arroyo Junction to Kern Hot Springs (13.9 miles, 1,250′ ascent, 3,900′ descent)
We knew this was going to be one of our biggest days, and we we woke up at 6:00 am to hit the trail. The first part was a climb from the river up to the top of a ridge and then a long haul down through the forest and NEVER-ENDING switchbacks to the Kern River Valley.
After you reach the valley floor, you have about 2 miles to the hot springs.
We found a sweet little spot with a fire pit, bear locker, and pit toilet at the hot springs.
After we set-up camp, we made our way to the riverside and “hot springs.” It was a concrete tub for one and a half people, and really, really hot. Some people loved it, but my jam was soaking my feet in the cold river instead.
Day 5 – Kern Hot Springs to Wallace Creek (12.4 miles, 3,600′ ascent)
We started the day around 7:00 am to tackle the 12-something miles ahead of us. The first part of the hike was absolutely stunning. It was mellow and followed along the Kern River, which was a treat in itself. It was cool, lush, and beautiful.
There were several creek crossings, a couple of which ended up with some in the group having soggy boots. The first and worst was Whitney Creek, where both Brian and Asia ended up knee-high. It was an adventure to say the least.
About a mile after that, we came to Junction Meadow and had a nice long lunch while boots dried out. From here, it was several more miles and about 2,500′ vertical feet to our destination — Wallace Creek. This is where the JMT, HST, and PCT all collide, which naturally makes it a little busier.
We arrived at 3:30 and found a nice little spot by the river. We spent most of the afternoon in the tent avoiding the rain and playing backgammon. We were lucky enough for the storm to break long enough to make dinner.
There is also a bear locker here and plenty of campsites by the river.
Day 6 – Wallace Creek to Guitar Lake (6.8 miles, 1,530′ ascent)
From Wallace Creek, we immediately started ascending to Guitar Lake. This part of the trail goes up at first, meanders through a mix of forest and meadow, passes by a (mostly vacant) ranger station at Crabtree, and then climbs to Guitar Lake.
This may have been one of the most challenging days, in that, when we were making the final ascent to Guitar, the sky opened up and started growling in one of the most ominous ways I have ever heard.
We made it to Guitar right before the hard hail and lightening came striking down. For the first 15 minutes, we sat behind a rock and could do absolutely nothing but take the pain of the little balls of ice hitting our skin. There was a quick break in weather, just long enough for us to get the tent out, before another burst came upon us and all we could do was throw the tent over us.
It was like that through most of the afternoon, with short bursts of peacefulness followed by evil raining down from the sky. There were moments where we would lay in the tent and breathe a huge sigh of relief every time we saw a lightening flash and knew we were still alive. The storm broke before sunset and campers started to emerge from their tents to share stories of how that was one of the craziest things anyone had experienced.
When the stars came out, the clouds parted and gave a glimpse into the universe. We could see a shadow of the mountain looming above us that we would take on starting at 2:00 am the next day.
Day 7 – Guitar Lake to Outpost Camp (11.8 miles, 3,100′ ascent, 4,200′ descent)
Today was the coup de grace. We woke up at 2:00 am to break camp under the starry sky. After forcing some food down and packing everything up in the chill of the night, we began our final ascent of the trip, to conquer something I had been dreaming of for a long time, reaching the summit of Mt. Whitney. It was cool, but every step made my legs burn with tire. You would look up at the mountainside above you, and see the minuscule headlamp lights of those that left before you. There were so many times when I questioned what I was doing, but there were two things that kept me going: 1) the most magical meteor that I have ever seen paint the night sky and 2) my rock and the love of my life by my side.
Switchback after switchback, we made it to Trail Crest just after light broke and dropped our bags. At 13,645′, Trail Crest is the highest mountain pass in United States. With only 2 miles left to the summit, we brought the bare essentials (water AND an engagement ring to my surprise!) and made our way.
When we got to the summit, Brian took my hand and led me to the tippy top. I have a thing for making sure that I stand on the actual highest point of each peak I climb. After some fumbling through pockets, Brian got down on one knee, and I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said. Oxygen was thin and I was so focused on making sure I didn’t accidentally drop the ring between some rocks. The only thing I know is that I left that summit with an overflowing heart and a sense of excitement I never knew possible.
Heading back to Trail Crest and telling everyone we passed along the way that we were newly engaged, we soon began our descent down the infamous “99 switchbacks.” Now, I didn’t actually count the switchbacks, but it sure as hell felt like at least 99. I have so much respect for those that hike up and back down the 99 switchbacks in a single day.
We decided to stay at Outpost Camp that day, which is 3.6 miles from the trail terminus. We were glad we did though, as the same pattern of afternoon thunderstorms soon rolled in, and we were able to get our tent up and briefly dry out some clothes before the skies opened up again. We were a prisoner to our tent for the rest of the afternoon, but at least this time, we were below tree line and a little less concerned about being rattled in our tent by lightening.
Day 8 – Outpost Camp to Whitney Portal (3.6 miles, 2,150′ descent)
The easiest mileage day of the trip, ironically seemed like on the hardest. It was all down hill from Outpost Camp to the Portal, but not without some amazing views.
After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the Portal. For being a small general store, I have to say that the burgers, fries, and beers were some of the best I’ve ever had. Either that, or I was just excited to eat “real” food after 8 days eating snacks and re-hydrated meals.
We made it to the end, have memories that will last a lifetime, and all have a sense of accomplishment for standing on top of the highest peak in the contiguous United States… and for me and Brian, the real adventure is just about to begin.
Have you done the High Sierra Trail before? What is your favorite memory? Leave a response below!
Last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Yosemite with Brian and a few of our friends. I had driven through Yosemite before, but had never hiked here, which was something truly humbling. We hiked the Half Dome trail, which was about 15 miles with 4,000 feet of vertical gain. The trail climbs past Vernal and Nevada Falls, meanders past the beautiful Merced river, and then makes the final ascent toward Half Dome. It was definitely one of the most demanding hikes I have ever done.
I’m still on a high from my backpacking trip on the Lost Coast Trail this past week. You can read about that adventure here. One of the things that I didn’t include in my original post is what I ate, but it is definitely not something to be overlooked. Finding delicious ways to stay fueled on the trail can be tricky, but with a simple dehydrator, you can make some awesome recipes, like the one below.
The Lost Coast Trail stretches a rugged section of the Northern California coastline where the redwoods meet the sea. It begins at the mouth of the Mattole River and travels south to Usal Beach. There are two sections of the trail. The north section is 25 miles and follows the beach from the Mattole trailhead to Black Sands Beach. The south section begins at Hidden Valley and travels 29 miles south atop the ocean cliffs and redwood forests. This past week, I had the opportunity to backpack the northern section with one of my closest girlfriends. What follows is a video of our trip and a written summary with some tips and learnings from our journey.
For the longest time I have dreamed of exploring the Oregon coast and Redwood National Park in Northern California. This past weekend, we made a quick trip, but were sure to get in every ounce of adventure we could in the short amount of time we had. We were also able to get in a precious visit with one of my longest and closest friends who just had a baby. Below are some of the highlights from our trip. I can’t wait to go back!
There’s no better compliment from Brian than, “this is blog worthy,” when I am experimenting with a new recipe. The inspiration for this recipe originally came from a Cooking Light email that landed in my inbox, but there was one thing wrong. It called for an InstaPot. I haven’t quite jumped on the InstaPot bandwagon yet, but this recipe still sounded like I needed to give it a try. It was a cold winter night and I needed a fiesta in my mouth!
Have you ever stuck your hand out with a few seeds on it, only to have a cute little chickadee land on your fingers and pluck that morsel off of your palm? No? If this sounds fun and you want to channel your inner Snow White, Chickadee Ridge is your place to go for an experience like no other.
Whenever I try to follow a paleo lifestyle, or at least reduce the amount of inflammatory grains in my diet from things like bread, pasta, and rice, I always turn to sweet potatoes. They are so satisfying, provide a wonderful source of carbs, and are full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, potassium, and much, much more. Here’s a few of my favorite sweet potato recipes I’ve made over the years:
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where it seems like every person who has a blog or social media presence is posting about one of two things: 1) a review of the previous year, or 2) what their goals are for the coming year. While cliche, I do think that reflection and goal-setting are an important part of personal development. I also believe that there is something to be said about making those things public. If you’ve announced the ways you plan to grow and develop to the entire world, you’re that much more likely to do it, right? It’s worth a try.
I can’t believe it. My little girl turned 11 today. Over the past 11 years, she has taught me patience and responsibility, but most importantly, unconditional love. Roxanne has been by my side through ups and downs, and always, always, loves me no matter what. There really is something to be said about the loyalty and comfort that dogs can provide.
Over the past year, we’ve really started experimenting with new recipes in our cast iron dutch oven every time we go camping. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at first, but I have come to absolutely love it. It’s probably because I just put the stuff in the dutch oven and then Brian does all the hard work—moving it around, putting coals on top, making sure it is the right temperature—but between the two of us, I think we have a pretty good thing going.
I can’t believe it’s taken me two months to write about my awesome trip to Kauai, but better late than never? This was my fourth (or fifth??) time visiting this amazing island and it did not disappoint.
If you’ve ever heard the term “island time,” you know it refers to a slower than average pace. Like a really slow pace. I only wish that vacation went by in “island time” speed. Instead, it seems more like time is on steroids and goes by way too fast. There is just never enough of it. We definitely made the best of our time though and I’ve put together all the highlights of each day.
If there is one place I can never get enough of in the Lake Tahoe area, it is Desolation Wilderness. The 63,000 acre area with endless trail systems and lakes has a solid permit system that keeps it from being overcrowded. Although this sometimes works to your disadvantage if you can’t secure a permit, it is worth the solitude. Every time I go, it is a different experience with memories to cherish for a lifetime. This past weekend with Brian and our fur babies was no different.
I have been toying with the idea of dehydrating my own backpacking food for quite some time . Sure, I love Mountain House, Ramen, and oatmeal, but I really wanted to find a way to make delicious backpacking meals that didn’t make you question what you were really eating. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure where to start. I love cooking, but dehydrating can be a little intimidating in that it requires special knowledge and equipment.
Don’t fret! I’ve put lots of hours into researching and experimenting for you, and have to say that my first finished product turned out better than any prepackaged meal I’ve had. A couple of things before I get to that recipe. To start, you’ll need a few things:
I am so excited that I got my first girls’ backpacking trip in this summer! Several summers ago my friends, Lisa and Jenn, became my wilderness soul sisters. We backpacked together four times that summer (Desolation Wilderness, Grouse Ridge, Bear Lake, and Star Lake) and haven’t done it since. We made a point to get out the other weekend to somewhere new and beautiful, Loch Leven Lakes.
Summertime in the Sierras is in full-swing and I was so happy to get a camping trip in this past weekend. Because of other commitments on the weekends and a snowpack that is still monstrous at high elevations, this was our first camping trip in the mountains this year. Either way, it felt good to get back in the woods for a few nights, cook over an open fire, and swim in a cold mountain lake.
Our choice this past weekend was Gold Lake, located off of Gold Lake Highway in Plumas National Forest. The lake is one of dozens of lakes in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. A couple of summers ago when we hiked the nearby Sierra Buttes, you could see all the lakes in the area from the peak. It is definitely a beautiful sight.
The first five days of my June 100 Mile Challenge have come to a close. I’ve gotten a pretty good start on my mileage and put in 13.15 miles in the first 5 days – only 80 some-odd miles to go in 25 days! Below is a recap of what the first few days looked like:
- Thursday (6/1) – 5.58 miles on the elliptical
- Friday (6/2) – 3.09 mile run by the Lake
- Saturday (6/3) – 1.42 mile hike in Galena Forest
- Sunday (6/4) – no miles; just gardening and lots of house chores
- Monday (6/5) – 3.06 mile run by the Lake
- TOTAL MILES @ 6/5 – 13.15
It has been so nice to be outside in Tahoe lately. Spring (summer?) is finally here and the weather has been perfect the past few days. If you’re anything like me, when the weather gets warm, one of my go-to things to eat for lunch on a weekday is a big salad with whatever leftover protein I have in the fridge from the night before.
When I graduated with my MBA this time last year, I told myself that I was going to get back to one simple thing that helps make me feel whole–running. Well, a year has passed and I haven’t run more than a few days in each week…and there have been lots of weeks when I didn’t run at all. We can all relate to the excuses of work, life, weather, etc., but the fact is, if you really want it, just do it.
In my last post, I wrote about finding a little gem of a beach when we were driving home from Tomales Bay, CA a little over a month ago. This past weekend was Memorial Day and we decided to make a trip back to the coast to explore here some more. The little town of Dillon Beach, CA is located at the mouth of Tomales Bay on the Sonoma Coast. Without traffic, it is almost exactly a four hour drive from Lake Tahoe. We packed up and left on Saturday morning and were at the campground by mid-day.
Looking outside on a gloomy Tahoe afternoon in April, all I can think about is the beautiful adventure we were lucky enough to go on this weekend. I didn’t know anything about where we were about to go. Only that my parents were there for the first time in September and fell in love with this quaint little area on the California coast. They loved it so much that they wanted to share it with us this weekend (thanks Mom and Dad!), so we packed our bags for a four hour road trip to Nick’s Cove, located in Tomales Bay, CA.