March 2019
Welcome to the California Alpine Club's Outings e-bulletin. Look here for details about upcoming outings and our monthly Saturday Sorties to trails of interest throughout the Bay Area.
 So read on and enjoy!
Saturday Sortie to the Presidio
On a glorious and sunny day amid weeks of rain and hike cancellations, 22 CAC hikers and friends gathered at San Francisco's Presidio with pent-up enthusiasm to get on the trail. Hike leader Ernie Castiaux chose a route that included the highlights of this magnificent national park's history and natural beauty. Marilyn Straka added to the day by giving a short talk on the park's history and transition to the modern era during our first water break. Spring is on its way, so stay tuned for new Saturday hike destinations along with returns to some of our favorite locales.
Upcoming Outings
A note from your Outings Committee:
Many of our adventures fill almost as soon as we publicize the event. So first, thank you for your enthusiastic response to our outings! If the trip you want to attend is already full, we encourage you to send your deposit and join the wait list. Cancellations do occur and we frequently are able to confirm most if not all members on the wait list. Better yet, if you want to be assured of a space on an outing, volunteer to help organize it. We are always looking for volunteers to help us put together new and exciting opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
Mt. Tam "Circumambulation"
March 23
Join John Newman and Rani Devadasan for CAC’s second “circumambulation” around Mount Tamalpais. The idea derives from ancient Zen practices intended to resonate with mountain powers and spirits, and was originally done on Mt. Tam in the late 1960s by poets Gary Snyder and Allan Ginsberg. Although our primary purpose is to explore the trails and enjoy one another’s company, we will also stop along the way to read a few historical passages and poems celebrating the special power of our “Sleeping Beauty.” Members and non-members are welcome. We will meet at Mountain Play Amphitheater and depart at 10:00 a.m. The hike is a total of 9 miles, with leisurely stops each mile or two at hidden glens and majestic vantage points crowned by the summit of Mt Tam on the East Peak. At the end of the hike, we will retrieve our coolers and head over to the Alpine Lodge for a potluck meal and celebration of our walk in the company of friends on our very special mountain. A detailed itinerary can be found on Meetup ( For more information, contact John Newman at or 415-336-3435.
Beginner Backpacking Class
March 23 (and May 4-5)
In collaboration with the Sierra Club, CAC has scheduled a beginner backpacking class and field outing designed for those with little or no backpacking experience. The course consists of an all-day class and a weekend overnight outing where you will put into use the outdoor skills that you learned. The cost is $110 per adult or $55 for ages 12-22. The class will be held on March 23 at Nature Bridge conference center in the Marin Headlands. Ernie Castiaux will co-lead an overnight backpacking trip to Sky Camp in Point Reyes on May 4-5. Early registration is recommended as space is limited and the class usually fills quickly. Additional California Alpine Club backpack summer outings are being planned for both beginners and experienced backpackers. To register, download the application at
Please contact Ernie Castiaux at for additional information.
Death Valley
March 27 - 31
The four-night camping trip to Death Valley with Mary Larkin-Berlinski is now full. The cost is $100 plus a vehicle entry fee to the park of $20-30 per vehicle. To join the waitlist, please send a $50 deposit to Mary Larkin Berlinski, PO Box 776, Moss Landing, CA 95039. For information, contact Mary at: or 831-345-6963. 
Vasco Caves
April 13
Reservations are closed for the April 13 tour of Vasco Caves. Since CAC members made their own reservations, the Outings Committee does not know who is going and cannot help with facilitating carpools. We always encourage carpooling, so Ernie Castiaux has set up a Vasco Caves Meetup page ( for the purpose of helping participants who have confirmed reservations on April 13 to find riders or rides for the drive to Livermore. If you are new to Meetup and need assistance, please contact Ernie at
Head Lightkeeper's House
Ernie Castiaux at Russian Gulch State Park
Point Cabrillo Lightkeeper's House Rental
May 17-20
All rooms in the two lightkeepers' homes and cottages have been reserved. The cost for lodging is $120/night/room (queen bed) and all three nights must be booked. Meals (3B/3L/2D plus happy hour snacks) are included at $50/person. To join the waitlist, please send a deposit of $150 to Renee Hamilton, 1 McIntosh Court, Novato, CA 94949. Waitlist fees will not be deposited until you are confirmed on the trip. Deposits, less a $15 cancellation fee, are refundable until April 1, 2019. Final payment is due April 1, 2019 and is non-refundable unless your place can be filled. PayPal ( is also accepted for payment.  For further information, contact Renee at 415-686-3966, or  
Muir Beach VFD Hike & BBQ
May 26
A special outing is being planned to combine a hike and fun event in support of the Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department. We will start at Muir Beach parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and hike a loop trail in the Marin headlands to Santos Meadow where the MBVFD will be having their annual BBQ.  There will be live music, food, dancing, drinks and more. With the walk back to the cars, the total hike for the day will be 6 miles. More information will be on our CAC Outings Meetup site:
Channel Islands
June 2-5
Our inaugural 3-island journey to the Channel Islands aboard a chartered live-aboard boat is full. Information to join the waitlist is found below. We'll board Sunday night and motor to the first of three islands, where we'll hike the following day with a naturalist guide and picnic on the island. Other options include kayaking along the shore, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing on board and enjoying the view. The cost of $575 includes 3 nights aboard ship, all meals aboard and on the islands, guided hikes on San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands and assistance by the crew. Kayak, snorkel and dive equipment are available to rent by the day. The cost does not include gratuities for the crew. To join the waitlist, send a $200/ person deposit to Renee Hamilton at 1 McIntosh Court, Novato 94949 (PayPal also accepted). We will not deposit your waitlist check until you are confirmed on the trip. For more information, contact Renee at or 415-686-3966. To learn more about our operator, Truth Aquatics, go to
American River Rafting & Echo Lodge
June 8 - 12
Join Ernie Castiauxon the South Fork of the American River for a great day of rafting class II and II rapids with our friends at Peak Adventures. The cost is $95 and includes all rafting equipment and an experienced river guide. The minimum age is 9. This day outing coincides with a long weekend at Echo Lodge (only an hour away) hosted by Camille Smith-Ballon, June 8-12. School is out and this will be a perfect trip for teens and all who revel in the carefree days of summer. Splash, laugh and swim on the American River, then head up to Echo to continue the adventure. To sign up for the raft trip, please send $95 to Ernie Castiaux, 5747 Shadow Ridge Drive, Castro Valley, CA 4552.  Paypal is also accepted ( Normal reservation procedure and rates apply for the stay at Echo Lodge. 
Slide Ranch
June 22
Join Ernie Castiaux and Arlin Weinberger for a special hike and tour of Slide Ranch, one of the many beneficiaries of your generosity when you donate to the California Alpine Club Foundation. Every year, Slide Ranch provides field trips and overnight camps to over one hundred schools and community groups from around the Bay Area. The CACF donates funds for scholarships so that low-income students can attend these programs. Our 5-mile hike starts at the Muir Beach parking lot and will provide vistas of the ocean and spring wildflowers. Please allow enough travel time to the starting point. The hike will start at 9:15 am sharp and we do not want to miss you. More information can be found on (
Kidd Lake Car Camping
July 12-14
Dogs welcome! Last year's Kidd Lake dog-friendly camping trip was so successful, we've decided to do it again! Kidd Lake offers an expansive group campsite with plenty of space, nearby lakes that are refreshing but warm enough for swimming, and wilderness trails where our pooches can accompany hikers off-leash. Of course, non-dog owners are welcome too. The cost of $75 includes the campsite and all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. All dogs must be well-behaved with other dogs and up-to-date on all shots. To reserve your place, please send full payment of $75 to: Renee Hamilton, 1 McIntosh Court, Novato, CA 94949. Payment is also accepted via PayPal. For more information, contact Renee at 415-686-3966 or
Piute Lake
Piute Lake Mule Pack
August 11-16 and August 18-23
Both departures of the mule-pack trip to Piute Lake are full. Mary Larkin-Berlinksi will co-host the first trip with Renee Hamilton, August 11-16. Mary and Stefan Berlinski will co-host the second mule-pack trip to Piute Lake, Aug 18-23. The cost of each trip is estimated to be $400, which includes the wilderness permit, mule outfitters to carry our gear out and back, and all meals including Sunday night prior to meeting the outfitters Monday morning. Group size is limited to 15. To join the waitlist for either departure, contact Mary at 831-345-6963 or
Willamette Water Trail Canoe Trip
September 7-14
There are five spaces left on the six-day, 85-mile canoe adventure along Oregon's Willamette Water Trail. Our route takes us through urban and native habitats, and we will enjoy beer and wine tasting along the way. We meet Saturday, 9/7 at the Best Western in Eugene, OR and depart the following morning for the put-in at Armitage County Park on the McKenzie River. After 5 nights along the river, haul out at Wallace Marine Park on Friday, 9/13 and shuttle back for one more night at the Best Western in Eugene. The cost of $400/person includes meals from Sunday lunch through Friday lunch, canoe rentals, river fees, shuttle fees and two nights hotel accommodations (shared occupancy). Cost does not include transportation to Oregon, Saturday or Friday dinners. To sign up, send a $100 deposit to Mary Larkin-Berlinski, PO Box 776, Moss Landing, CA 95039. For information, contact Mary at or 831-345-6963.
Saturday Sorties
In recognition of the far-flung nature of our membership as well as the beauty that the entire Bay Area has to offer, the Outings Committee has launched Saturday Sorties. Our goal is to bring the warmth and camaraderie we experience during hikes on Mount Tam to all our members, wherever they live, and create more opportunities for all to enjoy Nature’s bounty throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Mt. Burdell
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Join Valerie Hoganand John Mullen for an 6.5 mile hike amid wildflowers, hills studded with oak trees bursting with new growth and expansive views from Mt. Burdell in Novato. This hike is dog friendly, so bring your well-behaved pooch and enjoy a great hike together. More information can be found on ( If you have questions for Valerie, please TEXT her at 415-302-9472. Please do not call.
Mt. Diablo "Necklace" Hike
Saturday, April 6, 2019

Ernie Castiaux will lead an 8.5 mile “necklace hike” around the summit of Mt. Diablo. We begin at the Juniper Campground (about 70% up the mountain) and we will hike clockwise around the mountain. Our route will take us to the Mt. Diablo summit with amazing views in all directions. If there is no valley haze, we will likely be able to see the snow in the Sierras. With the late season rains we have had, the wildflowers should be in full bloom and magnificent. More information can be found on (
Deer Park Redux
Saturday, May 11, 2019
With the rain cancellation of our Ground Hog Day hike in Deer Park with Madeleine Pearce, we have chosen a new date that is sure to be beautiful. We will hike approximately 8.5 miles through meadows and wooded areas and enjoy beautiful views. After lunch, we will walk around Phoenix Lake before looping back to the Deer Park trail head. The hike will begin at 9:30 a.m. From Fairfax take Bolinas Road, left on Porteous Avenue to the Deer Park trail head parking area at the end of the road. Dogs are welcome on this hike. More information is on the CAC Outings meetup site:
Cancellation Policy: Unless otherwise noted in the trip description,
all outing deposits and final payments become non-refundable
two weeks prior to the trip’s departure.
And just a reminder: Amazon Smile
The California Alpine Club Foundation is now a registered charity with Amazon Smile. When you shop through Amazon Smile, you have access to all the same Amazon products at no extra cost, but .5% of your purchase will be donated to the Foundation. To sign up with Amazon Smile, copy this link and paste it into the search bar: You will be automatically asked if you wish to support the CAC Foundation. It's a wonderful way to grow our foundation's good work of promoting conservation and environmental education in the Bay Area and Tahoe region.
What’s on your bucket list?

Your CAC Outings Committee is eager to expand and enhance your opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. But we need your help! Is there an activity you would like us to offer? A destination that you've always wanted to explore? Please tell us! Send your ideas and/or wish list to Renee Hamilton at (415.686.3966) or Ernie Castiaux at (510.909.3301).