An Elk Loses Its Coat, a Coyote Digs Sushi, and a Ranch Is History… The Pt. Reyes Series

This bull elk that came down to see us as we hiked out the Tomales Pt. Trail looked quite elegant until we looked at his back. He was still shedding his winter coat and had yet to grow his summer fur. The deer herd that hangs out on our property goes through the same stage, looking frowzy for a couple of months. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Any trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore should include a drive out to the historic Pierce Pt. Ranch and Tule Elk Reserve. The ranch will introduce you to an important piece of Pt. Reyes history. A hike out the Tomales Pt. Trail from the ranch will take you through some impressive scenery and likely give you a view of tule elk and other wildlife. Ever since the elk were reintroduced to the area in 1978, the herd has thrived. Our photos today start with our hike and end back at the ranch.

The Tomales Pt. Trail starts at the Pierce Pt. Ranch passing under tall Cypress trees planted originally by the ranchers as a wind break. Peggy provides perspective.
A few hundred yards brought us to a number of Calla lilies. Peggy and I wondered if a rancher’s wife had planted them to remind her of a home the family had left behind. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Of course, I had to take photos of the lilies as well.
We stopped to admire the scenery looking out toward Tomales Pt. and the Pacific Ocean.
Another view. The Bodega Headlands can be seen in the distance. If you’ve been to Bodega Bay, it’s possible you’ve driven out there. I like to go out on the headlands and look for whales passing by.
Far below us we saw a pair of coyotes working their way along the beach.
Peggy used her telephoto for a closer shot and, much to our surprise, the coyotes were digging in the sand. Whether they were after clams or crabs or some other seafood delicacy, I don’t know. But what was clear was that the coyotes had developed a tase for sushi!
Shortly afterwards we spotted elk on the ridge above us.
And they came down the hill to see us… (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Bringing their cows with them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I caught this photo of one of the bulls checking us out. You can see that he is in that ‘awkward’ stage between losing his winter coat and growing his summer one.
This cow elk was also looking a bit bedraggled. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
A final shot of the elk browsing. I liked the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
The Pierce Pt. Ranch ceased operation in 1973. Visitors are now invited to walk through the grounds and get a feel for what dairy ranching was like before modern dairy operation took over.
I liked the roofs.
I believe a park ranger lives in the ranch house now. I could live there!
The old dairy barn is humongous.
I took a peek inside. This is only half of the barn.
While Peggy stood at the barn door.
Since I took a photo of Peggy, she insisted on taking one of me. I took advantage of one of the downed Cypress trees. And that’s a wrap for today!


Monday’s Blog-A-Book from It’s 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me: I leave the Graveyard behind and journey off to the Pond where bullfrogs and catfish rule and pirates lurk.

Wednesday’s Blog-A-Book from my lead-up to joining the Peace Corps: I help corral a police car at Berkeley and the rallying cry of ‘Never trust anyone over the age of 30‘ is born.

29 thoughts on “An Elk Loses Its Coat, a Coyote Digs Sushi, and a Ranch Is History… The Pt. Reyes Series

    • My preferences for a place to retire, AC, were always the mountains or the coast. Preferably wild. I quite happily ended up in the mountains but I confess, the house and setting impressed me. –Curt

    • From what I’ve read, their forays on to the beaches are relatively new, Peggy. But coyotes are incredibly adaptable, hanging out in places like NYC’s Central Park. –Curt

    • There are a number of great hikes at Pt. Reyes Phil & Michaela, each one offering something different. The elk remind me of the deer herd that lives on our property and in the surrounding national forest. When I’m outside working, they tend to hang around to see what I am up to. 🙂 –Curt

    • There’s no lack of scenery at Pt. Reyes, Sue. But, then again, you have the Canadian Rockies. 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed the wildlife at the National Seashore. I don’t think I have ever been there without finding something of interest. Thanks. –Curt

  1. That looks like a wonderful place to visit, Curt. Blue skies, Calla lilies, coyotes and elk against the Pacific. I also love the roofs and could live there! Ha ha. Great shots from the two of you. Thanks for sharing the beautiful day.

  2. Love this area and really want to get back there. We “saw” Pt. Reyes on a foggy day — hardly could make out anything. Would have loved seeing animals, those cool buildings you shared, and that craggy, raw scenery. Yep. Gotta go back.

  3. When I read your title, I couldn’t help seeing an elk standing at the coat check counter, ticket in hand, demanding to see the manager. I enjoyed seeing the coyotes, too. I know they roam our refuges here. After a good rain, their tracks are mixed in with those of the deer, raccoon, alligators, and bobcats.

    ‘Dairy ranching’ isn’t a phrase we hear around these parts, but I’ll bet there was a lot of enjoyment that went along with the hard work in that spot.

    • I wonder if the early ranchers had the same appreciation for the beauty that we do today. Hard to imagine that they wouldn’t have.
      No alligators around here to track. 🙂
      We did have a fox last night, however. The deer have been breaking into our shrub garden and we couldn’t figure out how. So I put up our trail camera. No deer on it but we did see a fox up on our back porch sniffing at the door. This morning, we watched a deer walk up to the camera and lick the lens. I would have given a lot had the camera caught that action. 🙂 But she was too close. We did however watch the deer go over and crawl under our fence immediately afterwards. We’re now working on fixing that problem. Never dull around here…

  4. I’m thrilled to read this! We will be on a western swing next month and will driving south through this area in general on our way to visit a son in San Francisco. I may have to add a stop! I love the look of the whole place – animals, flowers, trees, buildings. (We have been to Point Reyes but not this part, I don’t think.)

    • You won’t be disappointed, Lexi. 🙂 Do keep an eye on the weather. Look for fog free days or days when the fog rises in the afternoon and plan accordingly. It can be a challenge in the summer. –Curt

  5. Tomales Bay is one of my favorite places in the world, Curt. I have spent many hours on this trail, and believe it to be one of the most picturesque places on earth, with Tomales Bay on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, and all the wildlife, freshness, and big skies. Yours and Peggy’s photos do a fantastic job of displaying the incredible beauty here. Great narrative too.

    • It has always been one of my go-to places whenever I am fortunate enough to return to Pt. Reyes, Jet. It has beauty, wildlife and history. Hard to ask for more! Thanks. –Curt

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