“Ooh! The heather is in bloom!”
Years back, my son and our autism-support hiking buddy had hiked the Heather Cutoff Trail near Muir Beach. I wanted to revisit that trail and take better photos, but couldn’t remember the best season to capture the heather in its full glory. Then I saw a recent photo post of blossoming heather from Marin. This was the time.
Two things stood out in my memory about our hike years earlier: the sharp zigzag switchback pattern of the trail, and puffy pink-purple clouds of heather blooms.
As we made our way along Route 1 and looked inland, we saw something magical. Against the gray-green hills in the distance, we could see what looked like rivers of purple flowing down the hills.
My fuzzy memory about the trailhead and trail junctions came into focus, and we were soon at a trail sign on Route 1.
Impressionist brushstrokes of pinkish purple heather marked the start of the Coastal Trail. We walked the less than half mile to the start of the Heather Cutoff Trail. Getting to the trailhead: mission accomplished.
What we found: the distinctive switchback turns I remembered. What we did not find: heather colorfully adorning the trail.
“Dang. Now I remember thinking on the first visit here that people would get mad about this trail being named for heather, because there’s no darn heather on it!”
The switchback turns made for interesting views, and the heather by the road and flowing down the hills in the distance made it a worthwhile outing.
Names do not always accurately describe their location. It’s worth walking onward, even when our path differs from what we anticipate. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, Heather Cutoff Trail, introduces readers to a trail near Muir Beach Overlook that features a tight series of switchback turns leading from a coastal ridge down to a meadow and creek area.
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Hike Notes 177: Heather Cutoff Trail
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