If you were asked which hike is your favorite right now…what would you say? Could you decide? I know I would have a very difficult time! Possibly the one where we saw solar halos, a hummingbird mating dance, and Osprey’s in their nests along with waterfalls and gorgeous views of Mt Tamalpais. But who can really say which is your favorite when they all have their own magic?
Marin County, California is just steps from the wonderful big city of San Francisco but feels miles away. There’s no lack of open space and trees for days. Amazing that it is so close to a large metropolis but yet so untouched. Kent Lake is a large reservoir for drinking water and is part of the Marin Municipal Water District which has several reservoirs next to public parks and hiking all around.
We started our hike at the top of Azalea hill with gorgeous views of Mt Tamalpais and the bay. Already in awe we hiked up only to see better views and then down to our first pit stop of Carson Falls. This is a natural breeding spot for the Yellow-Legged frog, unfortunately we didn’t get to see any and the falls were just a trickle when we went but still a gorgeous well maintained hike down many steps made from local rocks. You could stop here and turn around and still have an amazing hike but would definitely recommend keep going down to see Kent Lake.
There weren’t too many people on the hike but enough to remind you that you are not the last people on earth. If you go on the hike we were on (click here) you follow along a small creek with some great shade. Watch out for the little lizards and don’t fall off the trail when you might happen to see a small harmless snake…yes, I screamed a bit since I wasn’t expecting it then giggled that I was scared. While the trails are well maintained along here it is also a little steep in some spots as well as narrow so watch your footing.
Once you get to the pump house it’s a fire road you are on that follows part of Kent Lake. I was so excited to finally see what we had gone down 1,300 feet to see. Trees trapped in water trapped in between mountains. A crazy sight for sure! Check out the pics below. It was a sunny beautiful day and only a couple other people down there. We stopped and chatted with one of the guys fishing and he pointed out an Osprey nest. We probably wouldn’t have spotted it on our own so that was great! We sat and had our snack and watched to see if the Osprey would come back to the nest…um, he was in there! I grabbed my camera and zoomed in as far as I could (this is where I need my longer lens, hint, hint to the hubs) and caught a head moving around. Then he flew out and back. It was pretty great seeing this since it’s not something we get to do often.
After the excitement we headed back. As we were walking along enjoying the variety of lush plant life and trees we looked up and saw a solar halo (rainbow around the sun). I love rainbows! They are so happy! Ok, so I took several pics and wanted to get up higher so we could see what it would look like above the tree line…sadly it disappeared as they are supposed to. Not sure we would have been to make the climb back up as fast (or slow) as we did if it weren’t for the solar halo. Once we hit Carson Falls again there were several groups of people heading down the hill. Crazy people, I was sweating bullets and it wasn’t even the hottest part of the day! Youth I guess can make it easier for them to climb back up during the hottest part of the day.
On one of our many pit stops to drink water and catch our breath we saw a cute little hummingbird chillin’ on a branch. Then another came and flew around her. All of a sudden the male hummingbird flew straight up in the air then swooped down super fast made the cutest chirp noise and then back up in the air. He did this over an over…poor little guy, she just wasn’t into him! She ended up flying away playing hard to get but he caught up to her again and we got to keep witnessing this mating dance! Could the hike get any better?
Love it when we can learn something new, get some exercise, spend time with your best friend and see nature in all her wonderful glory! Check out the pics below! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!