Escape to Pine Mountain

The view from the the trailhead leading to Pine Mountain and Carson Falls exhibits Marin at it’s finest. Mesmerized you are at every angle with Kent lake below, Mt. Diablo and the whole stretch of the North and East Bay corridor, and the quintessential sloping ridges of the Mount Tam watershed that give way to deep cavernous valleys.

It’s a local escape indeed. Most times the rocky trailhead is nearly empty. Surprising since not only is this a breathtaking viewpoint but this trail is the actual spot on point birthplace of mountain biking.  The first downhill races known as “Repack” were here back in the 1970’s.

The silence embraces me. When the tight walled in feeling sends uncomfortable shivers down my spine, this spot is the polar opposite. To be greeted by an expansive above the world view without doing much work to get it is truly sublime. At dusk the outlines of the pines along the West facing ridge are incredible (the photo above shows this the ridge and the true colors of the sky after the sun has set).

My body and mind slows and the otherworldly landscape on this ridge is the perfect antidote to the pace below. The excessive amount of milky turquoise serpentine rock- thrust up from the bottom of the ocean long ago when the Earth did amazing things like that- and the native low-lying plant species that grow in this unfriendly rocky soil make this terrain appear desert like.  Along with the multicolor rocks – crouch down and take a good look- make this trail unique (plus there’s no poison oak and few mosquitos because of the lack of green- a plus especially during this 2016 spring).

I feel at home up here and love the way the winding path takes me slowly along until the steeper part at the end (before reaching the carson trail turn off).  Sometimes I drop down and meditate on one of the rocks just off the trail and sense back to the time of when Indigenous people inhabited these lands. To slow down in nature in this way is the biggest gift in the world. Watching the light turn to dusk to night when the California stars take over the sky reminds me of why I live here, right here in Fairfax with close access to this very spot.

To get there: From Hwy. 101 take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit west and go 6 miles to Fairfax. From downtown Fairfax take the Bolinas Fairfax Road west as it winds up through the hills, passes a golf course on the left and continues up to a small road side dirt parking lot on the left at 3.8 miles. From there hike gated Pine Mountain Truck Road on the other side of the Bolinas Fairfax Road as it gradually ascends northwest 1.5 miles and go left on the fireroad to Pine Mountain.



As a photographer, writer, psychotherapist and nature lover, I am passionate about living in Marin County, CA. The perfect home base, Fairfax, CA is where I get out daily on the miles and miles of open space and find inspiration and plot my next journey out of Marin into the world. More about Mary... Mary is a New York Native who has been living in Northern CA for the past 20 years. She is a "Creative Image Photographer" infusing digital images with innovative techniques. Her favorite spot to take photos is muddled amidst the trees of Marin County CA, or in an exotic urban environment near the ocean, under the sky, and completely in awe. Mary's goal is to capture this scenery, to reach into the mystery of life, into the everyday magic, use the light and the dark as guides, delve into the chaos or the quiet and capture and whittle away at these snapshots, without disrupting their original essence, until they come alive and rich with depth and mood. Her mission is to create unique works of art that bring this depth, mystery, upheaval or serenity to people's walls and homes and ultimately that her work becomes a catalyst to help shift onlookers mood and outlook even if for a moment in time. Her work has been described as dreamy, ethereal, mysterious and mythical and yet also simple and straightforward. Currently her photos are on display at Google Headquarters in California.

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