the Matt Davis trail

This past weekend, Jay and I went on a double date of a day trip with our friends. Our plan was to hike the Dipsea Trail from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach in Marin County, although a bit of clumsy navigation set us off on the wrong trail. This turned out in our favor, however, because the Matt Davis Trail had major payoff. (By the way, I’d been wondering who Matt Davis was the entire day. My guess was that he was a baseball player — but he’s actually a trail builder. I’m glad to know that there is credit given to conservationists and nature lovers, especially since this trail was obviously lovingly laid out!)

We started off at the beautiful Stinson Beach, a picture-perfect, family-friendly stretch of sun, sand, and surf. The park, of course, is outfitted with bathrooms — great to know before setting off on an hours-long hike. We parked in the beach’s lot and walked a short distance across the town, passing by adorable seaside bed-and-breakfasts, cafes, and gift shops. Once we walked through the plainly marked trailhead, however, the outside world completely fell away.

We entered a hushed grove, intersected by a cheerful little creek. After less than a mile, the trail begins snaking up the side of a steep hill, decisively taking you from sea level to mountaintop. Fortunately, the path is well-traveled and developed, often crossing over beautiful, sturdy bridges and bolstered wooden steps. The ascent, while certainly no joke, is made pleasant by gorgeous greenery.

We had originally planned on hiking to the Ranger Station, which was a few laborious miles away, but decided against it once we spotted an off-trail outlook. At this point, we had emerged from the lush cover of forest to the chaparral grasslands of the trail. We saw fellow hikers lounging on a hilltop in the distance and bravely decided to venture forth. The sun unhelpfully bore down on us as we trekked up the 45-degree slope of the hill. By the time we got to summit, we were sweaty and spent — but the view? It was gorgeous.

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