Black Mountain Backpack Camp in the Monte Bello Preserve

I’ve lived most of my life in the Bay Area and only really started backpacking in 2015. Now that I have all of my own backpacking gear, I’m trying to do it more. But it’s hard sometimes because it can take a long time to drive to the trailhead itself.

Enter: Monte Bello Preserve. I initially saw this listed on Brice Pollock’s post and thought it’d be worth checking out.  Then I bought the One-Night Wilderness book and it was listed in there, too.

Some random tidbits from my night away alone:

  • The relatively short hike to the backpack camp was easily one of the most brutal I’ve ever experienced in my life. EVER. (And I’ve hiked Half Dome.) I did this on July 24, 2016 and the weather was hot and most of the trail was exposed. The heat reflecting off the dirt made Earth feel like a sauna with every step I took. Whenever I reached a small shady spot, I had to psyche myself up to keep hiking. It was so hot.
  • With that said, I’d recommend doing this in late fall or early spring.
  • I took a nap as soon as I got there and set up camp. Naps rule!
  • I really wanted to test out my new hammock. Yes, I finally camped without a tent (though I carried the tent anyway, just in case there were no trees). It was so comfy and afforded a beautiful view of the sun setting and the stars rising.
  • It got so hot in the middle of the night that I had to get out of my sleeping bag.
  • I tried the Knorr Pasta Sides for dinner (yay, $2 dinner). As I didn’t actually hike that much (about 2 miles) and it was so hot, I ended up not finishing the meal. Overall, pretty delicious.
  • As you can see in my rig, I had to use my sleeping pad to shield the wind from the stove to cook dinner.
  • As I was milling around the camp around 6 PM, this random male hiker came over and talked to me about the camp. He seemed friendly enough, but since I was there all by myself and, well, no one else was around for miles, my spidey senses kicked into high alert immediately. I think I acted pretty normally, but do wonder if other solo female hikers experience this feeling. The thing is, I’m usually not the kind of person to think that strangers are out to harm me, either. It was weird that I felt that. Or maybe not?
  • I had work the next day (Monday), so as soon as I woke up at 6:19 AM, I packed up and hiked out. I’m secretly obsessed with how efficiently / quickly I can do things, and noted that it took me about 10 minutes to pack everything up. Woohoo! 🙂

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