Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pt Reyes Peninsula: Cold, Gray and Fabulous

Pt Reyes Tule Elk Preserve
One of my favorite places is Pt Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. Used to horse camp there and ride to the ocean through the forest, took the boys to play at the beach when it was triple digits at home, and spent some girl time with the BFF for a few days. I shared it with Bill a couple years ago, and we returned for a day trip during our stay in Bodega Bay.

Disappointed that the Pt Reyes Station was closed on Wednesdays so didn't get to enjoy the delicious Reuben I had been looking forward to :-( , but a quick deli sandwich got us back on the road.

There is something about the peninsula that is both rugged and magical. In addition to the lighthouse, there are eight protected family farms designated as A through H, AT&T's major communication center, the Tule Elk Preserve, Drake's Beach, North Beach and South Beach.

The plaque at the AT&T antennas said it was the best communication spot on the west coast. We had zero bars on our AT&T phones

Barely visible from the road, the zoom brought the elk up close
 
One thing I love about this wild place is the very different shorelines. Drake's Beach is black, hard sand and calm waves. There are high cliffs on both sides of the small bay, and it feels protected.  There is a small VC with information on Sir Francis Drake, large restrooms (huge), and a snack bar open on weekends.

Tranquil Drake's Beach
Sandstone walls around the inlet

Restroom or dance hall?


North Beach, on the other side, is white, soft sand and violent surf. It is wide open ocean with nothing to break the power of the pounding waves. Other than a parking lot and restrooms, there is nothing here but multiple signs suggesting that you should be somewhere else.

Violent North Beach

Don't let those loud waves get me Daddy!

Welcome!

The contrast is pretty extreme. 

Everything was shrouded in swirling, cold fog, giving one the feeling of entering a secret world from which you might not return. The road is narrow, rutted, full of pot holes. The terrain is a mix of succulents, tall grasses, pasture, dunes, and large gray rocks that somehow stand out from the equally gray skies. It is wonderful.

The blowing fog changed the landscape every few seconds
Although rugged, the environment is fragile. Doggies only allowed on North and South Beach.

For my birthday Bill gave me a Canon Powershot SX50, and I've been experimenting with using a real camera for the first time. The zoom is amazing, although to keep the camera steady enough to actually capture something (especially in the wind) is a challenge for me. While the muted day made for monochrome shots, it was still a lot of fun to capture this fabulous place.

The end



18 comments:

  1. Amazing photos!!! Love all the elk and the ocean waves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It was a great spot to get started :-)

      Delete
  2. LOVE that area! Years ago we hiked the Pt Reyes bluff (on an amazingly clear day!) that takes you between the ocean and Tomales Bay and we saw hundreds of elk...it was fabulous! I'd like to go back again.

    I read something recently that said there are fewer elk for some reason...perhaps it has to do with climate change...regardless it makes me sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised to see some of the elk in with the cattle. I've never seen more than a dozen on any visit, but haven't gotten far off the roads near the preserve. The bluff hike must be amazing on a clear day!!

      Delete
  3. I have that same camera and absolutely love it--it's my favorite! Love your foggy photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! Always helps to hear user satisfaction. Wish I could have found a spot to stop and video the fog blowing over the road......it was so cool :-)

      Delete
  4. Now this sounds like a fulltimers post:) The fog gave your photos such a neat effect. Love the elk and those gigantic antlers. What a contrast on the two beaches! Have fun with your new camera:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pam :-). Aren't they majestic creatures? I just don't know how they hold their heads up!

      Delete
  5. Amazing those Elk, that whole area really can feel quite wild and rugged. Looks like a great Fathers Day for Bill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just love the raw feeling of the place :-) He's definitely enjoying his day!!

      Delete
  6. We really loved Point Reyes National Seashore when we were there. The beaches were fantastic. Pretty sweet birthday gift! I have a Canon SX50 and just adore my zoom although close ups with it are a bit more difficult. If I'd read the manual I'd probably be able to do a lot more with it. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you got yours I started really looking at them because of the zoom - and I'm so happy I put it on my wish list! The manual's not all that great :-)

      Delete
  7. Only been to Pt Reyes once and it was foggy then which seems to increase the feeling of wild.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially in the summer. I think the only time I've seen it sunny there was in November!

      Delete
  8. Nice Jodee. I'm still getting used to my new Canon PowerShot SX610. So easy to pull out my trusty ol iPhone. But I do like the zoom and wide angle it has.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that IPhone spoiled me for simple and quick and pretty darn good photos as well. I'm sure I'll still have some from it as I always seem to have it with me :-)

      Delete
  9. Your opening shot of the elk is just wonderful. I have the same camera as you do and am very happy with it. :-) It goes everywhere with me -- hiking, biking, kayaking -- and is apparently indestructible. We were in Point Reyes a month ago and absolutely loved it -- it truly is a magical place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems like a popular camera, I'm hoping that means I can figure out all the bells and whistles too. This whole CA coast is pretty great, but Pt Reyes will always be special.

      Delete