Friday, August 24, 2007

Go for a swim in Bass Lake

It's understandable that you may be antsy--this being one of your last weekends and all--about not having sampled enough of Bay Area nature since moving to San Francisco. Day-to-day life, with its chores and hangovers, got in the way, and suddenly your days are numbered and you've begun to sweat. Lucky for you it's the heat that's the cause, and that now you've got a beautiful way to cool off, Marin-style.

Bass Lake is part of the Point Reyes National Seashore and is located near the town of Bolinas. It's a pretty little thing that comes at the end of about a 2.5-mile easy-ish hike. Strip down to your bathing or birthday suit--nude bathing is supposedly common here--and jump in. There is a recurring rope swing somewhere on the shore, much to the consternation and resulting efforts of officialdom, so keep and eye out and be careful if you find and attempt it.


To get there, take Highway 1 north from Stinson Beach. Just north of Bolinas Lagoon, turn left on exit to Bolinas. (The welcoming Bolinas residents regularly tear down the sign that marks this turn-off, so you may have to resort to guesswork here.) Follow the road as it curves along the lagoon and eventually ends at Olema-Bolinas Road, and continue along Olema-Bolinas Road to the stop sign at Mesa Road. Turn right on Mesa and drive four miles, until it becomes a dirt road and ends at a parking lot. Take the Palomarin Trail from the dirt lot. After a couple of miles you'll come to a junction. Continue left on the Coastal Trail. You'll eventually see the lake, so at this point begin searching for a small path to the water's edge.

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