5/24/08

Point Reyes

There is something at about Point Reyes that is a balm for my soul. Once you get off of the Thirty-Seven and on to Lucas Valley Drive, the world slows down. I can feel my shoulders start to loosen and my breathing becomes slow. More often than not, when we take these drives I'm pointing out something to the kids or yelling at them to stop it for whatever crimes they are committing against each other. When it's Rich and I by ourselves we talk about work, what I'm writing, the future, baseball and why the Giants pitching stinks (we talk baseball a lot), politics, if we won the lottery but sometimes, like yesterday, we are off in our own little worlds and don't speak and the drive becomes quite and almost meditative.

These first three pictures are of Inverness. I love Inverness, it seems like home. I always feel comfortable there. The sky becomes big and the land opens up to reveal Tomales Bay.

Once you pass through Inverness and start heading west on Sir Francis Drake Drive, the landscape totally changes from coastal pines to grassland. To me it's very stark and I can imagine what California used to be like a long time ago, without the cars, traffic, and people. I'm sure some people freak out when they don't get reception for their cell phones. I love that no one can get a hold of me. I am invisible, unreachable, and untouchable. I can breathe and let go because it just doesn't matter here.

There is only a little sign that lets you know you are entering Point Reyes National Seashore. You don't have to pay an entrance fee. It's all very wild. If you never have been... you feel lost, there aren't many signs directing you where to go and you start to see cattle on the side of the road, making you feel like you are definitely lost.

Those steers shooting you dirty looks don't help much. That picture is actually closer than it appears. Those steers were on the side of the road with no fence separating us.

And we also had to wait for the rooster to cross the road. Yes, the little dude really had to get to the other side.

There are ranches inside the park. I'm going to give a very rough and brief history about the ranches... The Coastal Miwok Indians had the land first, then came the Spanish and the missionaries, then the gold rush settlers, they all farmed this land. Then the Americano Ranchers farmed here and did some really bad record keeping which resulted in lots of litigation. Oops. Then a law firm in San Fransisco obtained the title of the land and started issuing leases of the ranches that they divided up into parcels naming the ranches A-Z. Then the Depression hit, some of the ranches and diary farms closed. In the 50-60's, people figured out there was a lot of money to be made if the land was developed, so the farmers and the Sierra Club came to an agreement to preserve the land (it wasn't pretty or easy, actually it was ugly and messy). In 1962, President Kennedy explicitly provided for the retention of the ranches in a designated pastoral zone, with ranchers signing 25-30 year reservations of use and occupancy leases, and special use permits for cattle grazing. So the ranches and diaries you drive through today are on federal land that the government leases back to the ranches. I love that about this park. It has a certain funky charm. I am always curious to know how much the leases are. Here you are on this million dollar land with views of the ocean and wildlife everywhere... what does the government charge?

So once you drive through the ranches and dairies with cows and chicken, then you see this.

A stretch of beach that goes forever. More often than not, it's foggy and windy but yesterday... yesterday was a gift. It was clear and warm (52 degrees) and a light wind (5-15 mph winds) the winds average about 40-60 mph on a regular basis and a recorded wind speed of 133 mph. Yeah, I'm a weather nerd, got a problem with that? This was the perfect day to go and no one was there. Maybe about 20 people at most, throughout the whole time we were at the lighthouse.

This is my favorite shot. {click on the picture for better view} Check out that little birdie basking in the sunshine. On the walk towards the lighthouse, there in the middle of nowhere is a rusty old electrical meter. Who reads it?

And then there is all the wildlife. Tule elk, deer, seals, lizards, and in a park ranger's scope, I saw a baby peregrine falcon. Sorry, I don't have a good enough lens for that.

On the 308 steps down to the light house, there is a lot to look at. The lichen grows everywhere, even on the chain link fences. Most of it is either this rusty orange red color, some of it's green and other times it's this purple-y black color.

Here's the view on the way down. It's not a problem going down, it's the going back up that's interesting. That will be tomorrows post.

But before we go back up... let's sit, bask in the sun, and enjoy the view.

Links...


Click on the pictures for a bigger-better view.

Tomorrow... steps, a 30 story building, the best iced tea in the world, a good cookie, and some stinky cheese with really stinky service...

And none of these pictures are the wedding gift

12 comments:

me again said...

Love, love love the photos! I haven't been to CA since I was ten years old (many moons ago....) and now I sooooo want to go. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story!
Lennie

Snooty Primadona said...

This completely fascinates me. I've always been a water person, trapped in the Texas desert. I'm also a nature person, trapped in the Texas desert. You just have to look a lot deeper to find the beauty out here I guess (like the oil). Which is what makes being able to go on this trip (vicariously) with you, is so fun.

This made my day. Thanks!

Mental P Mama said...

Beautiful place...so glad you are having a nice getaway!

Grace said...

i've seen many a cow in my day (many a cow, usually close enough to smell the manure dried to their tails), but i've never seen a steer with such a freakishly tiny head in proportion to its body. hilarious!

Kristin said...

Wow, those are some pretty awesome photos of what I'm sure was an awesome trip. But I have just one question: Did the rooster tell you WHY he crossed the road?

lcsa99 said...

Those are such amazing photos

noble pig said...

Oh the breeze just pours over me when I see these photos!

Philly said...

I so wanna be there

Mayberry Magpie said...

I'm so enjoying traveling with you! I've always wanted to explore California, and I seem to be locked in the middle of America. Who knew there was a place you could see cows and ranches one minute, then that AMAZING coastline the next?

Keep 'em coming!

Mayberry Magpie

melissa said...

I love these pictures Krysta. I miss the coast so much. I know I have the ocean down here but it's not even close to the beauty that is northern an central California. Like Magpie said, cows and ranches one minute and beautiful beach the next. There's nothing like it anywhere else in America. I'm a bit jealous of you living up there because you have so much easier access to it.

God I can't wait until September!

Point Reyes Weekend said...

Your post captures perfectly my own love affair with the area. I blog about the Point Reyes area at pointreyesweekend.com

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