China Camp Hike

East of San Rafael in northern California is a California State Park called China Camp. This 19th century Chinese settlement has a lot of history and some beautiful trails. Chinese immigrants created a self-sustaining shrimping village in this spot starting in 1880. Today you can walk on the old, crooked dock and tour a small museum with some artifacts from this time when about 500 people lived here. The park re-created the tiny houses settlers would have lived in at the time, which are very sparse.

China Camp is a great place to hangout on a sunny day, have a picnic or take a hike. On a recent weekend, my fiancé and I h hiked the Shoreline Trail. This 4.5 mile trail takes you through oak trees and tall grass with excellent views of San Pablo Bay.

Shoreline 1

Shoreline 2

Shoreline 4

Shoreline 5

Shoreline 7

If you go here, keep in mind you need to bring cash for parking OR park alongside the two-lane road. Sometimes these free spots on the road fill-up and you’ll have to park far from the trailhead. The spots along the road don’t leave much room for driving error, as a cliff to the bay is feet away with no guard rail in many spots.

It’s likely you’ll encounter others along your hike since this is a well-known trail, but most of the time we were alone on the trail. Here are some trail rules of etiquette to know if you go hiking:

  • You might have to stand aside on the narrow portions of the trail as other hikers pass. People going on the easy downhill portions should yield to hikers going uphill. Bikers should yield to hikers. Everyone yields to people on horseback.
  • Stay to the right on wider sections of trail.
  • Always pass on the left.
  • Stay on the trail to avoid trampling into an animal’s space (rattlesnakes are common in Northern California — I’ve come across a few).
  • Don’t hike alone!



Your living room makes a great gym

In the past few years the ways we can get a good workout at home have grown. Even gym-goers like myself have been persuaded to workout at home more frequently. 

There are a ton of fun ways to sweat using a game console paired with a device like the Wii Fit or Nike Kinect. You dance or do sports moves (essentially things like air golf), while burning calories. Even traditional workout videos now have corresponding multimedia tools like online forums to find additional motivation. I’ve found some great videos on YouTube just by searching for trainers I read about in magazines — I just connect my laptop to my television in my living room and can browse from all sorts of fitness content. And you can bet if you’re trying a new fitness routine that there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of videos on YouTube from people who’ve already tried it and are offering their reviews. 

The latest workout I’m doing at home is the Tracy Anderson Perfect Design Series I-III workout. And before my recent vacation to Thailand I learned a short Tracy Anderson routine by watching a YouTube video. The routine was short enough to remember the moves and was a good way to start the day before drinking Chang beer and eating delicious Thai curries.

It’s easy to get comfortable at home (as you should be!) but don’t let that stop you from breaking a sweat in your living room. It opens up so much more time in the day when your “gym” is in your home.