Unfortunately, The North Face Endurance Challenge was cancelled, due to the rampant fires all over California. The race organizers consulted with local health officials, who determined that the air quality was at unsafe levels. The situation is so bad that residents are advised to stay indoors and wear masks if going outside. I was extremely happy to hear that The North Face was donating the entire prize purse to victims of the fires.
The primary purpose of my trip out to San Francisco was to visit my sister, so I wasn’t going to cancel because of the race. Unfortunately, I had my own problems getting out there. We were hit by an unexpected snow storm on Thursday night, which caused havoc on transportation. My 6:00pm flight was delayed four times, before it was eventually cancelled at 10pm. Due to the snow, I wasn’t able to leave the airport and ended up spending the night. I managed to get about 30 minutes of sleep – there were no couches or chairs to lay on and the floor was as hard as a rock. Not to mention, they must have lowered the heat to save energy because it was freezing, even with two pairs of pants, a hoodie and a jacket.
The next morning, my 8:30 am flight to Salt Lake City was delayed more than 3 hours because they were missing a flight attendant. As a result, I missed my connection and had to take a later flight, which was subsequently delayed as well due to poor air quality in San Francisco. Long story short, it took me about 30 hours to get from NYC to San Francisco. I could have flown to Asia and back!
In lieu of the race, we spent a fantastic day in the Bay Area and north of San Francisco. We started the day off by renting a beautiful car. We drove up the coast to Point Reyes National Seashore, where we went on a 9 mile hike to Alamere Falls. The hike offered incredible variety, as we traversed cliffs with incredible ocean vistas, navigated dense forests, viewed small waterfalls, passed through serene lakes and scaled shale rock faces.
Alamere Falls is a “tidefall,” which is a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. The cascades are 20-30 feet. Due to the air quality advisory, there was hardly anyone on the trail and we had the waterfall to ourselves. It was an unforgettable and once in a lifetime experience.