Day 2 – January 29, 2010
We woke up this morning to a gentle sunrise through our skylight. Did I mention that we really like this hotel? =) We came to the lobby to heat up the bagels we bought the night before for breakfast and ate at the provided table.
Then, we headed off to the Bear Valley Visitors Center here in Point Reyes National Seashore where we plan to spend the next few days. The rangers there provided us with all kinds of good information on hikes to pursue starting with a short Earthquake Trail just out the back door. The 0.6 mile loop had information on how earthquakes work and especially about the San Andres fault like that we were standing on. We were able to see the effects of the 1906 San Francisco area earthquake. Mostly, though, we were able to spot half a dozen black-tailed deer that were grazing in the area. They managed to follow us along the trail and we were happy to have them as companions. At one point even, a bunny bounded across the path followed by a doe and I thought I was looking at a scene from Bambi or something!
The day was overcast, but there was still visability, so we drove off to the point of Point Reyes to learn about the historic lighthouse. This point happens to be one of the windiest (and foggiest) points on the west coast, and we quickly found out just how windy it could be! Because of all the usual fog, this lighthouse is very important.
We also passed by a field of AT&T communication poles. These poles actually read signals from ships on the whole Pacific Ocean. It is only one of 3 nautical communication stations in the US, and the only one on the west coast.
At the lighthouse we tried to spot the migrating gray whale, but we didn’t see any. We did see the clouds coming in and the rain in the distance. We had enough time to go down and up the 300 steps to the actual lighthouse and then back to the car before the rain hit us. We drove to another outlook in the area and decided to wait out the rain and eat our lunch in the car. There were several other people in their cars waiting out the rain.
Finally, we gave up and decided to drive to another area of the park. We did still see lots of deer even in the rain. Also, apparently this road is full of dairy farms, so there were lots of cattle and cattle guards. The Smart car is fun to drive, but the cattle guards were incredibly bumpy! The cattle on the side of the road looked like they could knock us over as well. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about them moving too fast. =)
After a while the rain stopped and we took a short stroll on a beach. At 49 degrees and gusty winds, it was very chilly. No swimming for us! Good thing, too, because this is not the beach for swimming. We were told to stay out of the water because the riptides would pull us right out to see. The waves were magnificent to watch!
We drove back to the Elephant Seal Outlook now that the rain had stopped and walked a short distance out to see the 400+ elephant seals laying on a beach below. They were loud, too. Some were screaming, others were bellowing, and there was lots of noise to hear. We could even hear it over the wind that was threatening to blow us over!
Finally, as the light was fading and the rain coming back, we turned and headed back. The “big” town in the area is Point Reyes Station and it has about 4 streets and 5 restaurants. So, we should be able to eat at a different place every night. We had a delicious dinner at a wood-fired oven pizza place and now we are back at the hotel. It’s amazingly dark outside, so it feels so much later than it actually is. It’s only 8pm! But, I don’t imagine that we will stay up too late tonight. Maybe we’ll wath some tv or play some pool.
I’m not sure what we’ll be doing tomorrow since it is supposed to rain. I guess we’ll just have to make some spontaneous decisions! We are having a great time.