Being Thankful for Friendships at Mt. Tam

Early on a Saturday morning, my friend and I left Sacramento and headed to hike one of the many trails on Mount Tamalpais (Mt. Tam), which is just north of San Francisco. Our goal was to get there by 8:00 to meet up with a wellness group that hosts many hikes and events that are close to the San Francisco Bay area.  We knew that we needed to leave early to get ahead of the traffic. Traffic can get pretty busy, later in the day, as Hwy 80 is the usual route to take to get to some  incredible destinations, such as Napa, Point Reyes, and San Francisco. Most of these locations are less than a two hour drive from the Sacramento area, so I promise more to come on exploring this places.  We took a wrong turn, getting to the trail head a little late, we missed meeting up with our group. Thankfully, someone had left trail markers in purple chalk, and we had also stopped at one of the ranger stations to get a free trail map, (I would recommend doing this).  At the trail head we met a nice man, who was obviously familiar with hiking  the area,  he pointed out that it is easy to get turned around on the trails if you hadn’t hiked them before, and then directed us on how to get started. I had done a little research the night before on where I found step by step directions of the loop trail we were taking on the Friends of Mt. Tam website. Friends of Mt. Tam is a nonprofit volunteer organization that sponsors hiking and astronomy programs at Mt. Tam, and also assists the State Park with maintaining the trails.

As we started out, we passed thru shaded areas, with still wet grass from the morning dew. Fog clung in patches to the mountain, like misty blankets. Early on in our journey,  we passed the open air Mountain Theater where performers were rehearsing for an upcoming play. I added a note to myself to come back to check out one of shows. Whether hiking alone or in a group, there is always a moment of quiet in the beginning  of the journey. I find myself meditating on the journey ahead, listening to the sounds of the birds singing their morning songs in the crisp air.  It is one of favorite parts of hiking. The trail near the theater is narrow and we met a few runners and hikers along the way. As we began to ascend a little higher we passed multiple little waterfalls, and many beautiful wild flowers.  When we reached the West Point Inn, the fog had started to lift and the sun felt warm on my skin. The panoramic view was incredible, and I wished that I had done a little more research of what part of the bay we were looking at. Here we saw many cyclist who had rode up some of the wider biking trails. When I got home I did a little more researched of the area we were in. The view from the West Point Inn, looks down upon the East Bay, Marin Headlands, and parts of San Francisco. You can also see one of the towers of the Golden Gate bridge and the Pacific ocean.   After taking a break to enjoy the view, we followed the Blackjack trail down  towards the Blackjack camp grounds, where we hiked up a strenuous  zigzagging  trail that ended at the back of the Mountain Theater.

As we headed back to our car,  we discussed the hike and our plans for lunch. My friend stopped in the middle of the conversation to tell me that she was  thankful for our friendship.   Later, I thought about how this simple phrase made me feel closer to her. It felt good to know that I was appreciated for being a friend.  It also made me realize that there are things in my friendships that I take for granted. Life it can get so busy, that some of my friends and I only get together a few times a year; but when we do, we pick right back up where we left off. I appreciate the time my friends spend with me, but I rarely tell them this.  The friendships I have are invaluable, so I want them to know how thankful I am for them. Today, I plan on saying it more often.

Denise Baldwin Jones - Author