My Big Fat Labor Day Weekend

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Trip Report
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Aug 29, 2013
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My Big Fat Labor Day Weekend
Created On: Sep 7, 2013
Last Edited On: Sep 12, 2013

Stay home and go big

Sunset Azalea Hill
Sunset from Azalea Hill
So the summer's passing by. It's late August. A host of reasons beyond my control have kept me from the high country. Did manage a good day in Tahoe to stave off the craving a bit but the big domes of Yosemite, the vast spaces of the Mono Basin, Owens Valley and the big walls of the Eastern Sierra were still calling.
Now it looks like the last weekend of the month is going to go. I got the work week started early so I could get the van which was running rough tuned up and everything ready to leave by Friday.
Then on Monday I hear about the Yosemite Rim Fire and it also dawns on me this is Labor Day weekend. Then on Wednesday I take the van in to my mechanic of 30 years only to find out I gotta shell out 8 bills to get it road worthy and he can't do the work until Labor Day Monday!
So I have to take a rain check on the big granite again. By Thursday I was done with work and started heading into the local hills as usual. But it was like the god's said: "OK, so you can't go to the high country but we're gonna beef up the local terrain. Get your butt out there this weekend or you're going to miss it!"

I did just that for five days in a row and the gods made good!

Thursday on Little Mountain

Got off to a really late start and had to settle for something short. Little Mountain in Novato fit the bill for some nice sunset shots over Stafford Lake.
Stafford Lake from Little Mtn.
Sunset over Stafford Lake from little Mtn.

The 15er on Friday

Again I was tardy getting out late and had 2 hours of light left. The 15er (1,540+') at the west end of Big Rock Ridge came to mind. Hoofing up the slopes cutting switchbacks I managed to squeeze it in before Lucas Valley was taken by darkness.
West to the coast from the 15er..
Black Mtn. and Point Reyes Hill out by the coast from the 15er.

Last light on the south slopes
Last light on south slopes of Big Rock Ridge

Saturday in Corte Madera De Novato

I was prepared to get out to west Marin for something different. It was a hot day inland. Driving out Novato Blvd. I noticed the fog was coming in over the hills. Decided to gamble on the extent of it's advance. At the entrance of Hicks Valley I busted a move into the hills of Corte Madera De Novato taking in Red Hill (1,257') and a higher unnamed one (1,296) a mile east of it. On the way back the fog bank threatening from the west had crossed Hicks Valley and was moving into Corte Madera De Novato along with the rich light of sunset. It brought cold windy weather but was an exhilarating moment.   The day was left with a subtle pastel sunset.
Fog closes in on Hicks Valley
Fog closing in over Hicks Valley
Mt. St. Helena from Red Hill
Mt. St Helena from Red Hill
West Marin Hills
Corte Madera hills
Last light on Corte Madera De Novato
Sunset Corte Madera De Novato
Corte Madera De Novato at sunset
Last light on Corte Madera De Novato

Sunset over Novato Blvd.
Sunset over Novato Blvd

Azalea Hill with Tom on Sunday

By Sunday I was ready for something easy and called my old buddy Tom for a photo outing. Tom's no hiking fool but the  man can take pictures!. This guy's as good as it gets. His stuff makes my jpegs look pretty pedestrian.
We decided to gamble on the fog again and drove out to Nicasio Reservoir but it was too overcast. Then we drove back and up into the Marin Watershed to Azalea Hill for what promised to be an outstanding sunset. In fact  we were in an excellent position for one of the finest heavenly displays of the year!
Nicasio Reservoir
Nicasio Reservior

Mt Tam sunset from Azalea Hill
Mt Tam sunset from Azalea Hill

Sunset Azalea Hill
Sunset from Azalea Hill

Sunset Azalea Hill
Sunset from Azalea Hill

Sunset from Azalea Hill
Sunset from Azalea Hill

Back on Big Rock on Monday

Now it was Labor Day afternoon. The van was fixed and running great. What to do? Of course, why not! Another hike up massive, complex and inexhaustible Big Rock Ridge. It was a route I've done numerous times close to home. Just when I thought the god's had left the sky for the weekend they came back for an encore. As I traveled up the ridge to the 1,444' high point they  flung a tapestry of clouds across the heavens against the afternoon  light.
Heavenly fireroad
Cloud pattern over Big Rock Ridge

Cloud patterns over Big Rock Ridge
Cloud pattern over Big Rock
A good day in the hills
A good day in the hills

Sunset over San Pablo Bay
Sunset over San Pablo Bay from Big Rock

Melting into the Pacific

I wrote up this whole trip report  and was satisfied it was finished. Then while hastily deleting some pics I had second thoughts on I accidentally orchestrated the deletion of the whole frickin' trip report page! Hate it when that happens! Well whatever. It's blooming gone but the hills aren't! There's a few hours of light on this hot afternoon. I drove down to the Marin Headlands and got to the top of "Vortac Hill" in time to catch the sun melting into the Pacific as darkness fell on the Bay Area.
Sunset from the Marin Headlands
Sunset from the Marin Headlands


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dyusem - Sep 16, 2013 9:30 am - Hasn't voted

Very nice report!

While I too preferred getting into the Eastern Sierra, life sometimes only allows staying in the SF Bay Area and that ain't so bad...keep up the good work!!!


Noondueler - Sep 16, 2013 11:54 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Very nice report!

Thanks dyusem! The Bay area has it's own beauty too. I just came back from 3 days in Lassen this past weekend.
Cheers, Windsor

Viewing: 1-2 of 2