On Foot Yesterday From Bolinas to San Francisco

I’ve wanted to do it for a couple of years. On foot, out my doorway, into San Francisco—or, I should say—on my own power, because the first part of the trip involves swimming. The night before, I was so excited I could hardly sleep. Got up at 5:30, walked down to the beach. My son Evan met me and paddled my day pack and clothes across the channel in a kayak.

   Sun just starting to glow in dark eastern sky. 6:45. I’d psyched myself up to do this. Crunch time. Stripped down, waded out into the channel, and it was c-o-l-d. Had been a windy week, chilling the ocean. Mama mia! It’s only a short swim across, maybe 50 yards, and it felt like forever. BUT once out of the water I was stylin. Got dry, clothed, walked barefoot along the beach and got to the Parkside Cafe coffee stand at 7:30, got latte and a really good donut and was off along the coast. Got to Slide Ranch by 9, to Muir Beach 9:30. Nice morning, winds had died down, you could see as-they-say for miles. It’s maybe only 30 miles to SF, but pretty much all up and down.

View north from Tennessee Beach. I kept along the coast here on the southern side, rather than go on the (prescribed) Coastal Trail, which goes inland for a ways. There were faint animal trails and I eventually made it to the Marin Headlands. What really stokes me about this photo is that in the very distant background to the north (very faint, just to left of dark low peninsula), you can see the tip of Pt. Reyes, which I hiked to (from home) a year ago.

   I have a bunch of things to say about the trip, a few photos, will try to get back to it later, but in a nutshell, it was fucking hard. Probably mostly so because, dumb shit that I am, I didn’t drink enough liquids. I was dehydrated and didn’t realize it until I limped home. Plus I can’t seem to walk slowly; the old race horse (competitive runner) syndrome.

   I got to the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge at about 3:30, about 8-1/2 hours. Caught buses home, saw two friends downtown; one said, “Did you hurt yourself?,” the other said, “You look tired.”

   Getting enough liquids in me last night got rid of most of the tiredness and soreness. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I kept telling people it was do-able, and it was. There are lots of adventures to be had in anyone’s neck of the woods. More later.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

7 Responses to On Foot Yesterday From Bolinas to San Francisco

  1. When you walk in sand bare foot with wet feet you feel great because are grounding.Electricy is flowing through your body. Putting on rubber shoes stops this.Depriving your of water also stops the electric charging in body.
    At end of trip or exercise always walk barefoot to recharge your internal battery. Its called grounding.Remember when you got out of water and walking barefoot on wet sand.It felt great.

  2. As always, you are an inspiration to me Lloyd!
    Personally on the hydration front, this summer I finally got a playtypus (water bladder and drinking hose) for my hiking and alpine climbing trips. I can't say enough about them, not having to stop and take off my pack to drink is a huge benefit. And while climbing or belaying I can drink hands free. I'd highly recommend experimenting with one. The only problem I seem to have is drinking too much water, so I end up peeing a lot, but that's better than having headaches and drymouth!

    Thanks again for your inspiring ways!

    Craig from BC.

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