My Christmas Week of Walks and Hikes

How was your Christmas? Mine was lovely. I spent a week in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, with my family. We played poker a couple nights (I won $40), went on family outings, made big dinners together (I was in charge of vegetables), and… I met a bear!

When I wasn’t doing those other things, or just relaxing, I was walking. I’m still recovering from a year of racing, but I wanted to stay active, so I made a point of going on a nice long walk every single day.

SUNDAY, 12/22: I went out to explore the neighborhood, walking through some lovely neighborhoods, past a cemetery, and along a nice trail by the train tracks. I saw four deer just minutes after leaving our AirBNB house, which immediately made me think of JJ and how jealous he would be that I saw deer and he didn’t.

JJ, by the way, spent the week at a dog hotel that he absolutely loves, so while he didn’t get to play with deer, he got to play with lots of other doggies.

I also walked past a big mall, and instead of walking around the enormous parking lot, I walked through the mall, sidestepping last-minute Christmas shoppers.

That night I did something I very rarely do: drink. I only really drink two or three times a year, at big events like weddings, but we had a family gathering with over 20 people, so that’s a pretty big event! Plus, my sister-in-law’s sister Katharine concocted a signature cocktail for the event, which involved two different specialty ice cubes, six other ingredients, plus sugared rosemary sprigs for garnish. If I’m only going to have one drink every four or six months, completely homemade is the way to go!

MONDAY, 12/23: We took a ferry to San Francisco, and that made me a happy camper, because I love ferries!

We walked around the financial district, and visited Salesforce Park, which is four blocks long and elevated four stories above the street, on top of a transit center. It’s a lovely bit of greenery in the middle of the city. We also managed to walk past every skyscraper in San Francisco that I’ve raced up: Salesforce Tower, 555 California, and 101 CaliforniaHello, old friends! We also stopped by a holiday market with a giant wreath.

We ended up at the Fairmont Hotel, to see their two-story gingerbread house. I measured our walk back to the Ferry Building, which was 1.4 miles. I probably walked another mile in San Francisco, easily, but I don’t know for sure since I didn’t measure it.

Getting to the Fairmont required walking up a huge hill, but my mom, niece and I took a Lyft. Because I didn’t climb that hill, I made sure to walk up the big hill to our AirBNB house when we got home.

TUESDAY, 12/24: My longest walk, over seven miles. A big chunk was on hiking trails over a mountain, which afforded some great views, with San Francisco Bay in the background.

I also met a goat that lived in the neighborhood!

Here’s the route:

WEDNESDAY, 12/25 (CHRISTMAS!): After opening presents, my sister-in-law, brother, father and I drove to a local park for a nice walk along the Gallinas Creek. It had rained that morning, and it was pretty muddy.

It was also pretty flat, so on the drive home, I got out of the car at the bottom of the hill near the house, and walked the rest of the way up.

THURSDAY, 12/26: I started the day with a nice walk. I wanted to explore the area trails, but it was still muddy from the rain, so I didn’t stay on the trails for long, and stuck to the roads.

I was on a street I hadn’t been on before (with a great big hill), and there were gorgeous moss-covered trees everywhere.

I don’t know why I love moss-covered trees so much, but they really are super cool! There’s another one in this selfie, but it’s hard to see it back there.

Later that day, we went to Point Reyes Station, a cute little town about 45 minutes away, for lunch. From there, we went on a family hike along a path that follows the San Andreas fault line. Land in this area was jolted 16 feet during the 1906 earthquake. It’s been preserved as a park, complete with fenceposts that were separated 16 feet during that one massive earthquake over a hundred years ago.

FRIDAY, 12/27: Another family outing, this time to Muir Woods, a National Monument full of majestic and enormous redwoods.

I think the plan was just to check out the trees and do some light exploring, but then we came across a big stairway. You know I couldn’t resist the stairs!

Most of us climbed the stairs, and they began what ended up being a 2.7-mile hike through the woods. I didn’t have my Garmin with me to measure it, so I’m going by what the signs said. A hike, surrounded by redwoods and babbling creeks? Yes, please!

And that wasn’t even my only walk of the day. I wasn’t expecting that our trip to Muir Woods wouldn’t include so much distance, so I had started my day with a long walk near the house.

The destination was the San Rafael Civic Center, one of the last buildings Frank Lloyd Wright designed before he passed away. I walked around it, and through the campus, and even went in and checked out the interiors, and I’m glad I did, because they had a scale model of the complex that helps you understand the scope, and how the building spans multiple hilltops.

SATURDAY, 12/28: We left for the airport in the morning, but I had time after going through security to walk the concourses of San Francisco International Airport. My Garmin wasn’t picking up a signal, so I don’t my distance exactly, but I walked for 47 minutes, minus a quick bathroom break, and a stop at a kiosk to buy a snack (almonds and cashews) for the plane. I’d guess my distance to be two miles.

Add everything up, and I walked 30.7 miles while in California! That’s an average of nearly 4.4 miles a day.

Keep it up, David!

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