Sunday, March 28, 2010

Exploring Point Reyes, like Drake

Mission accomplished!
In the past three days I have walked approximately 26 miles. Yesterday I walked 13, the day before 7.5 and today another 5. The five Glenn and I walked today, was deceptive. One of the walks gained and lost the same 400 ft... (Point Reyes Lighthouse) the other longer leg gained and lost 100 ft. So all in all, I think I accomplished my goal of feeling back on track for training for the 3 day!

Today's walk started at Point Reyes Station. Well walk would be incorrect, breakfast is more accurate. This hub of West Marin has wonderful businesses that reflect the organic nature the community has embraced. From the Feed Store (with coffee bar), to Cowgirl Creamery, to organic produce and wines, meats and poultry, Point Reyes maintains its country charm with the sensibility of today's green concerns. It is a community of individuals and proud of their independent thinking. We ate on the patio at The Station HouseCafe alongside some motorcycle bikers, a family and a few artist looking folks. I ate Niman Ranch corned beef hash and drank fresh grapefruit juice while smelling the freshly blooming wisteria hanging from the trellis overhead.

After breakfast we headed out to my favorite little wine place on the coast, Point Reyes Vineyards. They have an incredible selection of Marin wines including a great Pinot and one of my favorite sparkling wines. Hey how about Cabernet from Quail Hill in Terra Linda! We enjoyed talking about wines and dogs with the two tasting room gals who were fun and knowledgeable all at the same time. There's nothing quite like sipping fine wine with fine people and this satisfied both criteria!

I ended with a bold move of asking if the winery would consider participating in some form in Wine Wars. And much to my delight Anne told me she thought that would be something they would like to do. I left them a card and a promise to YELP them ASAP! I will follow up and report back to everyone once we get a firm commitment, but we should be so lucky! Keep those fingers crossed. Once again during our talk I discovered that they too had someone close to them who is a Breast Cancer Survivor. This survivor was a runner and a health nut, but still had to undergo a double mastectomy. No one is immune from the risk of this disease. More reasons to walk....

Sparkling wine safely stowed away, we headed to Drakes Beach to start our Point Reyes adventure. We found out the road to the lighthouse and Chimney Rock parking lots were closed and open only to the buses run by Marin Airporter. Since the whales are returning up the coast, there are lots of folks trying to catch a glimpse. The buses keep the traffic manageable. After reading all about Sir Francis Drake, taking a look at the cliffs along the coast, we hopped our bus and headed out to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is down 310 steps (they don't tell you about the long portions without steps that is also downhill). The lighthouse clings to the cliff, and still operates, flashing at regular intervals. It definitely is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Once we took in the sights we concentrate on the main mission of most of the people there - whale watching. Every few minutes you would hear a voice raised in excitement "There's one!" I would look as hard as I could and I could not see one of these majestic creatures. Another voice raised "Look at its tail!" Oh and awwws would follow and I couldn't see anything. I finally gave up knowing I had flunked the whale watching class. (Glad I have seen one right off our boat in the bay...breaching! Take that!) But I did take a picture of one today... in the book store, on a postcard.

After we climbed the 310 steps, and got back on the bus, we headed to the Chimney Rock trail head. We passed many of the alphabet ranches that were leased to people back in the mid 1800s. Since the land is all parkland now, unless these ranches are run and lived in my the decedents of the people who ran them back then, they revert back to the park, and are left to rot. Luckily in my opinion there are many still in operation and the black and white cows they manage cross the road at will.

Once on the trail our primary mission had changed. On this walk we were on the lookout for as many of the 60 wildflowers that had been seen in this area in the past. Surely we saw 20 or more different types. Some tiny, some larger. Reds and yellows and purples and whites. We also were treated to seeing fallow deer and elephant seals, hawks, a lot of crows and ...yes its true a peregrine falcon standing watch on a large rock off the point.

There was one point where you could look out to the sea and watch line after line of waves rolling into shore. I said to Glenn "In Yoga they are always telling you to take a cleansing breath, this is so much more. This is what a cleansing breath is trying to be."

At 4, we climbed back on the bus and headed back to the bus. We had a camera full of great pictures and a great day to remember.

NOW, I have follow up. Share this all with you, and write a note to Point Reyes Vineyard, write a note on YELP and thank my husband for being my own explorer, pirate and walking buddy. Jealous? You should be......

NOW enjoy the pictures a quarter as much as we enjoyed being there and.... you'll begin to get it!

Wisteria on the partio

Glenn looking at the menu... what to have...hmmm

Cards ready to leave on purpose... anything for a donation!

The bottom of the menu, a quote from Pooh...

The Old Western Saloon

The Feed store

Feed, seed? Latte?

Riddling Racks at Point Reyes Vineyards

Great tasting room hostesses...

The cliffs at Drakes Beach

The cliffs on the other side..

Heading down to the light house

Its a long way down and long way back
Glenn striking a pose

Almost there
Can you tell we both have our cameras...
At the light house - perched high on a rocky point
Pretty amazing place
eh voila!
The light

Whale watchers... trying to see...


The old light from the outside.

Still can't see any whales.... I flunk whale watching, because everyone else saw them!

Starting the climb back to the top
The side of the path has these interesting compacted rocks in sand stone.

Do they count this as a step?

Pretty sure that is a Fallow Deer. They are trying to rid the park of them becuase they are not native. Well, neither am I. When are they going to get rid of ME?!

What a National Treasure.
Both Glenn and the park!


On the way down Chimney Rock there are a gazillion flowers. Don't know all the names though... I will give it a try... Indian Paintbrush

This is the lifesaving station (the old one)

That's it down there....

Douglas Irises were in bloom everywhere

Up close

Gopher.... a special little guy that lives in Point Reyes.

This is Pussy ear. LOVE this one it looks ready to grab a fly or something....

Birds off the cliff

There is a Falcon on that rock I promise

An arch rock

Mostly elephant seal pups on the beach

Creeping Blue Blossom

North Coast Phacella

Coast - minus the sound....


Hope you can see this little bee on the cows parsnip, you can click on the photo and it should enlarge it.

Little beach - on coast.... can't get there from here!

But you can sit and watch... stay away from the cliffs....

You can still see forever

A great day to explore.....


And so I am excited with the potential addition of Point Reyes Vinyards to our wine tasting event. Here's another great reason to RSVP now for our August 13th event.

Mill Valley is very close, as you know to SF. If you want a long weekend this should be it!

RSVP now!