After a couple of weekends doing other things, we were back on the road again. At 5.30 we set off for Point Reyes. No breakfast blog today as we ate at home. I have been making Sleepy Morning Oatmeal and have been having that instead of stopping somewhere. I got the recipe from Johnsie who runs the Pomaika’i (Lucky) Farm B on the Big Island.”
(Click on the photos for larger versions)
Since the clocks sprang forward it was really been dark when we set out and the sky did not lighten up until we reached San Francisco. The top of the Golden Gate Bridge was lost in fog and we did wander whether it would be the same on Point Reyes. Over the previous week the weather had been glorious with temperatures up in the 70’s and this weekend promises to be just as warm. We brought jackets, though, just in case.
Driving through Marin the residents were beginning to wake up. A few early morning joggers and dog walkers were out and about. Beyond Lagunitas the first redwoods appeared and then signs for Point Reyes National Seashore. We were almost there.
As we rounded the southern end of Tomales Bay, we noticed that there was far more water around. Obviously the tide was at its highest. We pulled in behind The Inverness Store to take a look at our favorite disintegrating boat. It was impossible to get as close as we did in November last year when we stayed nearby for the weekend. Tom took some photos of the Bay and Mount Tam, with its peak hidden by fog.
Beyond Inverness we turned right, heading towards Tomales point instead of the light house. Soon we were in open countryside, passing the occasional historic ranch. Dairy farming is still very much a going concern judging by the many cows grazing in the fields. Each ranch we passed seemed to be raising a different breed.
Off to our left we caught glimpses of the ocean and all around were flowers in bloom. Wildflowers is one of the reasons for our trip today. After so much rain, we were expecting to see a lot of color. The predominant color though on the road to Tomales Point was the white of the cow parsley. In the past, Tomales Point trail has been a good place to see a vivid display of color.
Once across a big cattle grid, we were on the Tule Elk Reserve and we soon spotted our first group of elk and up on the crest of a hill a magnificent
stag was standing in splendid isolation. Tom stopped to get some photos and was soon lost to view. When he returned to the car he said he didn’t see the stag again but had a very nice view of Tomales Bay. He also complained about the number of bugs around. Here in Claifornia we are not used to a lot of bugs but I guess the warm, wet spring has a lot to do with the increase. Note from Tom: Be mindful of the elk pasture patties. Lots of elk = lots of poop.
Further along the road there was a group of about ten female elk close to the edge of the road. Once again Tom stopped. He was able to get some good shots even though they had moved off a little way as our car approached.
We passed the Pierce Point Ranch and drove to the end of the road which was the car park for the trail down to McLures Beach. Click here for a link to all of the Point Reyes beaches. Neither of us has ever been to this beach so we decided to go take a look. The sandy trail descended gradually. Along the way there were many wildflowers – yellow lupin like flowers, orange California poppies, lilac and white stock like flowers, small purple ground cover plants, bright spiky ice plants and purple vetch. The beach was wild and almost deserted. There was a small group of gulls and about a dozen sanderlings. It is amusing to watch the latter as they follow the receding surf and then turn and quickly mince away as the next little wave surges up the beach.
There were two lots of footsteps in the sand heading north. In the distance I could see two fisherman at the edge of the water. I walked back towards the trail and sat on a large weathered piece of driftwood to catch up on my writing. Tom was busy with his camera and tripod. The sun wasn’t visible at all so it was not very warm plus there was a stiff breeze. At least there is no fog but off in the distance the view is hazy.
I ventured after Tom and discovered some rock pools. Even though I searched, I could not see any fish or even small crabs. There were no sea anemones fastened to the rocks either but it was good fun to clamber over the seaweed covered rocks.
Walking back up the trail seemed much steeper than the descent but there was much to distract me along the way. I looked more closely at the colorful plants and wished that I could identify them all. I tried to take some close up photos so I could look them up when I got home but they did not turn out too good at all.
We drove out of the car park and back up the road for a quarter of a mile and then turned left into the car park of Pierce Point Ranch. As I got out of the car I saw a photo of a woman posted on a notice board and went to have a closer look. It was a flier about Katherine Truitt, a 37 year old resident of Alameda, who had gone missing on January 8 this year. Her car was discovered in the parking lot at McClures Beach. It is assumed she was struck by a rogue or sneaker wave and swept out to sea. Back home I checked to see whether her body had been recovered but so far it has not. While searching I read that another woman – Silvia Lange, a 77 year former volunteer at Point Reyes National Seashore, also went missing 13 days later but this time further south. There are many warnings posted around at Point Reyes about the dangers of getting too close to the ocean so my guess is these two disappearances, though tragic, are just coincidences.
Pierce Point Ranch is not a working ranch now but not only was it the first ranch to be established on Point Reyes it was also the
largest. It was built in mid 1800’s and all of the buildings are still standing. There is a self guided tour around the hay barn, one room school house, calving shed, bunk houses and creameries although the only building you can walk through is the hay barn.
I first visited here with Tom about ten years ago and everything looked so much better than it does now. All the buildings need a coat of paint and basic maintenance but I guess the current economic situation has not helped.
There is a trail from here called the Tomales Point Trail and Tom and I have walked it several times. We had every intention of walking it today but the diversion to McClures Beach has not left us enough time. It has been a long time since breakfast and our tummies are growling.
We headed for Point Reyes Station in search of food. On the road between Pierce Point Ranch and Inverness we passed many bikes. The cyclists wore vests which proclaimed they were in training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In Point Reyes Station we looked around for somewhere to eat. Osteria Stellina opens for lunch at 11.30 so we decided to give them a try. We had dinner here a few months ago and we both really enjoyed it. We had a few minutes to kill before it opened so we went to the bank and on the way back to the restaurant Tom spotted a jacket he quite fancied.
Lunch was great. For starters Tom had asparagus and lemon and I had the beets and greens salad with ricotta cheese. We both had the GBD with aged Gruyere cheese. I did ask what GBD stood for and was told ‘Golden Brown and Delicious’. It certainly lived up to its name and worth all the extra calories. We drove home feeling replete and happy.