Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer 2011: Angel Island

Back in February, I managed to book a site on Angel Island for August 13-14. I had been hoping to do more camping/backpacking trips this summer, but unless I get organized quickly, this might be the only one for the season.

view from trail
view from trail

You can either take the ferry from San Francisco or Tiburon. We decided on the latter because a) parking was easier and cheaper, and b) we wanted to end the weekend with brunch at Sam's Anchor Cafe.

I had been the Angel Island in the past for an FX field trip, but this was my first time camping there. Whit, Les, and Dina had never been there before.

view from trail

I spent a lot of time researching the sites, and settled on East Bay Site #2 (sheltered from wind, in a small pine grove). Each site has potable water, picnic tables, a raccoon box, and a charcoal grill (campfires are no longer allowed on the island after a massive fire took out about 380 acres in 2008).

After the last ferry leaves (around 5:30 pm), the rangers and overnighters have the entire island to themselves. We had more than enough food, and apparently more than enough wine; Les picked up a pouch of Clif wine that turned out to be 2 bottles-worth. We finished that off before climbing Mount Livermore.

view from trail
view from trail
from top of Mount Caroline Livermore
from top of Mount Caroline Livermore

At night, I got teased over my paranoia about raccoons (because Kirby Cove memories made my eyelid twitch). Fortunately, there was only one guy who kept creeping up to the edge of our campsite, but would run away when we got up. There was no crazy gnashing of earplugs keeping us awake throughout the night. Also: no foghorns. Hooray!

from top of Mount Caroline Livermore
night view from campsite
deer

In the morning, we took a walk down to Fort McDowell. I have those photos in a separate post, but I will say that the other members of my group were taken by surprise about how awesome those buildings are.

My tips:
  1. Try to get an East Bay site; those tend to be more sheltered from the wind. However, when I say "sheltered," I don't mean "zero" -- we got a fair amount throughout the night, which I kept thinking were raccoons tearing my sanity to pieces.
  2. Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray.
  3. This is backpacking. You will need a backpack. Whit, for some reason (maybe due to his jet lag/sleep deprivation), made this trip with a small backpack and a duffel. This was not fun to walk with for 2.5 miles.
  4. I would err on hiking shoes/boots over sneakers. I went with the latter for this trip, and although it was OK (the terrain is not too crazy), I think I would have been comfortable with the former.
  5. Headlamps, lanterns, other light sources are always welcome to this party.
  6. Everything will take longer than you think in terms of walking: down to the buildings, down to the trail, down to the port to catch the ferry back.
All in all, it was a fun trip. Camping lady says: DO IT.

group photo

2 comments:

Molly said...

So fun. You make me so excited to go camping in a couple weeks!

madichan said...

Molly, it was so much fun! And if your site has a fire pit, it will be awesomer! Did you guys decide how to do the sleeping arrangements yet?