By Cate Lecuyer
From dense forests and hidden vistas tucked along desolate trails to top-notch cuisine, fine wine and luxurious lodging, Marin County runs the gamut from remote to refined.
And Mill Valley resident Cary Rosen just launched a business that combines both experiences.
TrekInnMarin offers “the perfect blend of elegance and open air,” according to his website, with a seven-day, six-night excursion of guided hikes. From Sausalito to Point Reyes, it also includes lodging at some of the area’s best accommodations, dinners at fine restaurants, farm tours, exploring downtowns, and meeting up with naturalists to learn about flora, fauna and local history.
“In six days you can’t see all the best scenery in Marin County,” Rosen said. “But we’re covering as much as we can.”
The trip hits up many of the must-see hot spots in the area, and is aimed at people who don’t live in the area. He's marketing in major cities includng New York, Chicago Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as oversees.
“Locals will say ‘I know where all these places are,” he said. “But people from out of town want it to be a guided tour.”
In 1987, the self-described entrepreneur founded Ecliptek Corporation, which manufactures crystal and oscillator products for frequency control. With a team in place to run that company, Rosen said it was time to put another idea into action.
“It’s just kind of always been brewing inside of me,” he said about launching TrekInnMarin.
A lifelong hiker and outdoor enthusiast, he has fond memories of hiking from village to village about a decade ago in Europe.
“I did that in Switzerland 10 years ago with my friends and loved it,” he said. “And I said, ‘someone should be doing this in Marin.'”
While he was lucky to stay in a place that had a shower at the time, his California version does away with the ‘roughing it’ aspect. Hikes range from about seven to eight miles a day – with a support vehicle always at the ready if necessary – and are led by by CPR and Wilderness First Aid certified guides. Evenings are spent dining in fine restaurants, sipping wine and resting on feather beds.
There's an option to customize tours, but the already organized trip begins by exploring the local shops and galleries in Sausalito, winds up to the Marin Headlands, includes a scenic drive to Point Reyes, and a drive back down to Stinson Beach and Mount Tam.
Highlights along the way include a tour of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, hiking up the Dipsea Steps, lodging at the Mountain Home Inn along the Mount Tam ridgeline, a historical walking tour of downtown Mill Valley, and a naturalist talk at Muir Woods.
While Rosen plans to develop different trips as his business develops, the first, all-inclusive Classic Trek runs from October 18 – 24, and accommodates up to six people for $4,900 per person based on a two-person booking. Spaces are still available.
As a long-time resident of Marin, Rosen designed the experience with the goal of introducing outsiders to much of what caused him fall in love with the region.
“I’ve lived in Mill Valley for 17 years,” he said. “And every day I pinch myself.”