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Wednesday 6 September 2017

Escaping the Heatwave at Stinson Beach

This past weekend the Bay Area was hit by a heatwave of the likes we've never seen here. Not only did we experience the highest temperatures that we've had in the time we've lived here, San Francisco experienced it's all time highest temperature ever reaching a scorching 106F/41C.

Now, that may not seem super hot to my friends and family back home in Australia where these sorts of temperatures are common in Summer, but here in the Bay Area the weather is usually so mild that it rarely even reaches 86F/30C at the very most in Summer - and as a result hardly anyone has air conditioning in their home (or even in shops and restaurants). We fall into that group of people with a non-AC home, and as the temperatures rose outside over Friday and Saturday, so too did the temperatures in our apartment. Staying inside our 89F/32C apartment to escape the heat wasn't an option so Saturday afternoon we jumped in a nicely air conditioned car and headed to Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco.

As expected the traffic was pretty busy as we approached Stinson Beach. Being a relatively short drive from San Francisco, Stinson Beach is a pretty popular spot for cooling off in the waves. We still managed to find a parking space close to the beach though which was great as it was too hot to walk very far. Ava and Lola changed into their swimsuits in the car while Mathilde stayed in her clothes as she was convinced that she didn't want to swim - of course, this changed pretty quickly once we were on the beach and she was playing in the water!

The sky all around the Bay Area was pretty white due to a combination of the usual Summer fog mixed with smoke coming from fires further north. The sky at Stinson Beach was no different. In fact, the waves and the sky started to blend into one as they were both so white! The water was pretty chilly at first touch, but after a little wading in ankle deep water Ava and Lola made their way out deeper to the crashing waves. Lola spent her time running away from the waves, while Ava embraced them and body surfed for much of our time at the beach (which is why you won't see her in many photos because she was so far away).

At first Mathilde wanted to stay in her clothes and not venture too far into the cold water. This didn't last long though and within maybe 10 minutes she had changed into her swimsuit and was playing in the waves with Lola. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the marks on Mathilde's arms and legs, she drew spots all over herself so she could be like Marshall from Paw Patrol (he's a dalmatian)!

The girls had a blast playing at the beach and spent a good two hours or so in the water. As I mentioned earlier, Ava spent much of her time body surfing out in the waves. Next time we'll have to remember to bring her boogie board with us. Lola and Mathilde played in the shallower water running to and from the waves. All three girls dug big holes, played in huge holes dug by other people, made rough sand castles (we didn't have buckets or shovels with us to make them neat), and played with a ball that came bouncing our way. Oh, and Mathilde spent quite some time pretending to be a dog!

The beach was pretty busy but there was still plenty of space to set up our picnic blanket without feeling like we were surrounded by people - although we did have to move it back multiple times as the tide was coming in. In fact, the last time we moved it neither Kim or I got to it in time and a large wave drenched half the blanket and the girls' clothes!

As the sun set the sky turned a lovely golden color followed by the most gorgeous pale pink. The moon came up over the hills and the beach became even more beautiful than it had been during the day. The temperature, while still pretty high, dropped just enough that the girls started to feel cold in their wet swimsuits - which meant they finally got out of the water so we could head home.

Our afternoon at Stinson Beach was the perfect way to escape the heat. We were there late enough in the day that it wasn't scorching hot on the sand but there was still plenty of light left for hours. The only thing that would've made it better would have been fish and chips on the beach for dinner! There are a few small cafes near the beach, but given the large number of people visiting the beach we didn't try to eat there and instead headed to In-N-Out Burger in Mill Valley on the way home. Not quite as good as fish and chips on the beach, but it's somewhere we only get to go on road trips so the girls were pretty happy.

If you're in the Bay Area, how did you escape the weekend's heatwave?

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