Norcal Lighthouse Series: Point Reyes Lighthouse


Although I’m the biggest nature lover I know, it occurred to me that I have never gone camping.  Perhaps it's because I live in a city where nature is abundant and an easy drive to the beaches of Half-Moon Bay, Stinson Beach and Santa Cruz,  the redwood mountains and the sierra foothills that allowed me to appreciate nature without foregoing the comfort of puffy pillows and pure linen sheets.  I certainly echo Tom Hank's remarks about living in Northern California.  He said, “Growing up in Northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I live in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.”

When my roommate told me that we had to be out of the house, I just took off and drove north. I returned to Point Reyes.  (Last fall I blogged about my visit to Point Reyes National Seashore, rather, ranted about the National Park closure - Point Reyes National Seashore: Walking the Trail Politics - and promised to return).  I just love driving through the hills and valleys, and to chill out at the tranquil seashore and visit the lighthouse.  Approaching the beach area, I noticed some bright orange warning signs to take the shuttle bus to the lighthouse. The road leading to the lighthouse was closed. "Oh no, a deja vu!" I thoughtBut the Park Ranger told me that, during the whale migration season, the road to the lighthouse is closed due to high-volume traffic, there's not enough parking space at the top of the hill. I parked my car at Drakes Beach and decided to take the Point Reyes Lighthouse tour. And it was one 'hella' of an outing. Nature was magnificent. The five dollars I paid for the tour gave me:
  • a bus ride to the top of the hill with magnificent views
  • a pleasant .4 mile walk
  • 308 steps for a good 616 stairmaster workout
  • magnificent views of the ocean
  • different colors of winter in Northern California through the blue ocean, the green pine trees, the orange blossom that grow on the rocks, the red lichen on the salmon-colored rocks
  • wild-life through the elks and deer, birds (hawks, murres)
  • whale watching opportunity.  Okay I did not exactly see the whole gray, but plenty of spouts – (The State Park ranger counted 14 whales passed by on their way to Baja California and Mexico) Yes, it’s migration season.
  • and the lighthouse was just the icing on the cake    

PHOTO GALLERY:  (All photos by the author)

#1. The Point Reyes Lighthouse can be found at the bottom of the hill.  If you dare to take a strenuous descent and ascent of very narrow 308 stairs, you'll be rewarded with more amazing views; you'll be able to admire the famous lens (click on the link below for additional info) and be entertained by the internal workings of the light and foghorn.  
 #2. Stairmaster

The Whale Watching Platform can be found before descending to the Lighthouse




Red Lichen
#3. Different Colors of Winter in Northern California
Salmon Rocks






Orange Blossom
Dwarf Pine


#4. Wild Things (I have never spotted that many elks and deer, and different species of birds)
Murres on the rocks
Tule Elk

#5.  A  View to a Kill


Check out the following website for additional info about the lighthouse:
http://www.nps.gov/pore/historyculture/people_maritime_lighthouse.htm


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