Places of Power, Places of Heart #8

On Mt. Tamalpais

The Steep Ravine Hike

Saturday, April 8th
9:00 AM* - 3:30 PM
Contact Steve to register.

Forty years ago, this was my very first hike on Mt. Tam, and it remains one of my magical favorites.  A century ago, when the redwoods were being cut down for lumber to build the Victorian houses of San Francisco, the aptly named Steep Ravine's sides were too precipitous to haul out the trunks of these remarkable trees. And so the old growth trees living in the draw remain a blessing to us today (along with the growth in Muir Woods, which was purchased and protected by the Kent family, and then bequeathed to the park service to be held in the public trust, in perpetuity.  I continually bless the Kents!).

Our Route

The ravine, and the stream which runs down it, begins near the ranger station and runs through redwood, bay and fern forest.
The trail tracks the creek,  crosses bridges, descends stone steps beside seasonal cascading waterfalls, passes under the arches of fallen giants, climbs down a short stairstep ladder, edges clear pools, then levels and winds among lush buckeyes, hazelnuts and maples before plunging into the ocean south of Stinson Beach. 

An Upward Evolution, Downhill all the Way

There is a clear progression as you pass through different zones and layers of woods, and you can feel the enchanting spirit(s) of the place shift and evolve as you go.  My former favorite way to enter this captivating space was to approach from the chaparral on the ocean end, and gradually make the uphill
transition into the ancient redwood surround.  This time, we will begin in the ageless forest at the highest end and follow the flowing water to the sea, giving us the advantage of going downhill the entire way.  This approach might make it more accessible to those who might not be able to manage two miles of climbing uphill--which these days, until my stamina recovers, also includes me!

A Moving Meditation

While previous hikes have had a destination where we would gather, rest and go deep into that place, our hike this time will be a moving meditation. 
We will travel on a comfortable trail on the side or at the bottom of the beautiful green way, above the creek or beside it. 
We will pause at different points along the way, and at a few broader places on the trail to
refresh or change our focus
to connect with the shifting spirit of the place
to listen to the singing water
to take in the color and fragrance of fields of forget-me-nots, milkmaids, rock roses and morning glories.  (Last Sunday my flower count was 33!)
Like the water in the stream, we will move easily downhill, sensing the progression of every change, flowing among the spirits of the rocks, ferns, trees and flowers until we emerge into the (hopefully) warm sunlight and meet the sea. 

Are you as ready as I am to shake off the clouds and moss of our welcome and endless winter rains?  Then this hike is for you!

*The earlier start is to ensure parking.

Details on logistics will be sent upon registration.

Registration is $40 ($35 if registered by March 31st).

For forty years, Steve has been doing ceremony and hiking around the shoulders of our local mother-mountain. On these visits to Mt. Tam, we will hike with mindfulness to key power spots, many secret or hidden from casual view.  There, we will bond with the presence of the mountain, perform ceremony, make offerings and honor the local spirits.  We will connect with the power and heart of the land, and with each other, heart to heart.

Steve Orsary is a shamanic practitioner, healer and poet who has hiked thousands of miles, many of them around Mt. Tam where he has walked every trail on the map and many that aren't. He and his wife, MaryAnn, work in Corte Madera where they practice Bioenergy Balancing, shamanic healing and body-centered psychotherapy.  Read more about Steve.

Click to contact Steve.  Limited to 10 participants.  Feel free to send info about this hike to anyone who might be interested.