This weekend we hiked (some of us reluctantly, the 49ers were playing!) 1.7 miles to this dark sand crescent beach in the Marin Headlands. Frothy waves crashed against the cliffs creating mini waterfalls down the lowest portion of the rock face. Blue skies, warm sun and still air had us peeling off the three extra layers any savvy northern Californian wears to the beach. We've been here before, in all seasons, and never have we had more perfect weather.
Oscar was one of the reluctant ones but he came around when I reminded him that he could hunt for semi-precious stones among the dark pebbles.
I gasped when I reached the crack. I had no idea how narrow the space. How steep and crumbly the walls. I started climbing, and my feet slid on the rocks that covered the trail, rocks that had been pulled out of the dirt walls by previous climbers. I climbed faster - slipping, stepping - up the deep and twisty ravine, calling up on decades-old rock climbing skills to grasp tiny rocks poking out of the walls to hoist myself along.
Of course they were fine. But definitely not the best idea to let them hike alone.
We stayed a while just breathing it in.
When I returned to the beach Oscar was eager to show me that he'd found more green and white stones among the black pebbles.
The sun edged slowly toward the horizon and still we stayed. Oscar, who usually begs to leave the beach after an hour, was happy on this rare windless day. I rested my head against a rock and closed my eyes and let the warm sun wash over my face.
We considered staying on through sunset and hiking back to the car in the dark. (If only we'd brought our headlamps and an extra snack.)
Our glorious day was made even more glorious by an uneventful walk back. No complaining, no whining, no requests for food. Just five hikers, holding hands, chatting, and tossing the football back and forth along the way.