Point Reyes, CA

We didn’t make it to the central coast due to the weather late last week. We had made reservations in Point Reyes for the last couple of days of our vacation and hoped for the weather to clear so we could at least get there. We got here on Saturday evening. Monica found us a nice lodge in Olema, CA, not far from the seashore. 

On Sunday, we really lucked out with the weather, even though it was cool. The sun was shining and we had blue skies so we thought we should take advantage of it. The hike was 9 1/2 miles round trip out the peninsula between the Pacific ocean and the Tomales bay to the point.

A view from the Tomales trail

The trail was basically level except for a few dips here and there. The peninsula is a reserve for Tule elk and we’d see small herds scattered here and there. There were also a lot of wild flowers: Douglas iris, callas lilies, and California poppies. The views were beautiful on both sides with the waves crashing against the cliffs. Two women have gone missing from this area since January. The rangers blame their disappearance on “rogue waves,” while other people hint of a possible serial killer. Either way, we decided to be careful. “Rogue waves” became our saying of the weekend. Thank goodness it wasn’t very cold because it can get really windy. We were tossed around in the wind a few times. When we got to the last mile or so, the trail turned to sand. We really learned to hate hiking in sand when we were in Utah. It’s like taking half-steps the whole way. We thought we’d never reach the end of the peninsula.

Monica, still happy on the trail. (note the new, stunning new Patagonia pullover, the perfect color for being rescued by the Coast Guard.)

What? What? Is that the point I see?

(I will never be seen by the Coast Guard)

We arrived at the point, settled in and ate the sandwich and cookie we had picked up in Inverness, a little town just outside the park. The lemon/walnut/date cookie got a little soggy from the mustard on the sandwich, which added a little something extra special. We thought we should get started back because we feared the serial killer/rogue wave threat and didn’t want to be wandering the windy peninsula in the dark with the elk.  Monica was feeling the pain in her foot, but she managed to hobble back thanks to her walking stick. At one section of the trail, the wind was up to 40 MPH which kind of tossed her to and fro across the trail. Occasionally, we’d get a tail wind that would push us along. Somehow, she managed to tell me, “This must be the part they call Windy Gap.”  Apropos. By the time we got back to the car, we were heartily wind-beaten, but happy that we accomplished the hike. We went back to Point Reyes Station, about three miles from where we are staying,  and shared a fish and chips dinner at the Station House Cafe.The waiter talked us into trying the homemade butterscotch pudding and I discovered that Monica actually DOES like butterscotch and all this time I didn’t think she did. I accuse her of things that aren’t true on a regular basis. We got back to our room and Monica had to ice down her poor foot, but she felt a little better by morning.

On Sunday, the weather wasn’t quite as forgiving and we were happy that we had done our long hike the day before. We decided to go out to the other point of the peninsula and go out to the lighthouse. It was a long drive through beautiful rolling green pastures. The whole area reminds me of what I believe Ireland would look like. There are dairy farms all over the place and of course, cows. Cows are everywhere.

Most of them just stand around and wait to have their picture taken. Notice the amazing blue bay behind Bessy?

We stopped at the visitors’ center and chatted with the ranger for a while about various predators and how to defend ourselves from them. (We can’t).  She told us we would not be able to descend the 300 stairs to the lighthouse if the winds were over 40MPH because we could be blown into the sea. Oh, ok. When we left the visitors’ center, the winds were in the high 30’s so we thought we’d take a chance.

Wind, cold. Down jacket, possible Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Thank goodness, I let Monica dress me. 
This is the lighthouse viewed from the platform. Too windy to descend the stairs. No rogue waves were going to get us today. We stared our over the horizon fooling ourselves into thinking we saw migrating whales.

After being more wind-beaten we thought we’d drive over and see the Chimney rock and get a view of the rest of the shoreline. It was a mile hike out to the end and the weather was fairly decent. Less windy out there, but the guide books LIED to us. We couldn’t see what we wanted to see from the end of the trail, but noticed another trail that meandered along the cliffside. It looked a little precarious and as we were contemplating taking it, a dark cloud began to drift behind us.

“Looks like we might get some weather,” Monica noted. Just then, it started to rain. Then it immediately started to get windy and hail upon our heads. That pretty much made our decision for us. We headed back the mile walk to the car, partially blinded by frozen peas of hail. Things change drastically around here. If there’s one thing I hate it’s being cold and wet. The freak I’m married to thinks “weather” is fun.

Safe in the car, we got this view:

I told Monica I have seen more rainbows since I’ve been with her than I ever have in my entire life. 

A view from Drake’s beach looking back toward our hailstorm peninsula.

Clamoring around the cliffs at Drake’s beach, hoping the tide doesn’t come in and leave me stranded on this jetty.

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