Pt. Reyes National Seashore is an American Treasure. In this photo, Sanderlings take flight on Limantour Beach. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
A bull elk is outlined against the sky at the Pierce Ranch.
My legs were not working and I was laughing. I had just completed one of Pt. Reyes’ easiest walks from the park headquarters out to the beach and back via Bear Valley. At the end of the 10 mile round trip, I had gratefully fallen into my car and driven to Bodega Bay. It was 1969 and the pre-Yuppified Inn-at-the-Tides consisted of motel cabins going for $15 as opposed to rooms starting at $200. My legs had gone on strike when I stepped out of the car to register.
I had just completed a year of recruiting for Peace Corps in the Southern United States where exercise had consisted of traveling between airports, motels and college campuses from Texas to Washington DC. Adding injury to insult, I had eaten most of my meals at Southern restaurants serving large helpings of Southern food. Curt had become a little chubby. The legs were not happy. Fortunately, a half-pint of whiskey and a full night’s sleep ended their rebellion. The next morning I returned to my exploration of Pt. Reyes and the beginning of a life-long love affair with the North Coast of California.
Peggy and I returned to the area last week for three days and stayed at Olema Campground in the small town of the same name. It’s always been my campground of choice and has changed little over the decades. Even the restrooms have remained the same. I’ve used the campground as my jump off point for exploring Pt. Reyes, as a writing retreat, and as a campsite for the 500 mile-bike treks and 7 day walking tours I led on the North Coast during the 70s, 80s and 90s.
One of my favorite campsites at Olema Campground backs up to a small stream and looks out on Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Obviously, we were celebrating Halloween.
Peggy and I join my Sister Nancy and her husband Jim each year for a pumpkin carving contest. We brought ours to Pt. Reyes. This witch was my entry in the contest.
Peggy’s pumpkin. (She won the contest. Our grandkids voted without knowing who had carved the pumpkins.)
Our friends Ken and Leslie Lake joined us at the campground, arriving just in time to eat lunch in Pt. Reyes Station and to visit the Bovine Bakery and Pt. Reyes Books. The bookstore is a jewel and the bakery has buttermilk scones to die for. They, along with the Station House Café, are required stops on my trips to Pt. Reyes.
Two of my favorite stops at Pt. Reyes Station. For a small, locally owned bookstore, Point Reyes Books has a great selection. And I’ve never met a pastry at the Bovine Bakery I didn’t like. More often than not, people are lined up out the door.
Afterwards we visited the park’s information center in Bear Valley and did a short walk around the Earthquake Trail. The Olema Campground is located a quarter of mile from the park headquarters and the infamous San Andreas Fault. Sitting in camp we could look across the fault at the peripatetic park. It had begun life some 300 miles to the south and is still working its way north. Normally its progress is measured in inches over decades. In 1906 it jumped 20 feet in the earthquake that was responsible for the destruction of San Francisco. Local legend is the earth cracked open, swallowed an Olema cow, and closed, leaving only the tail showing.
A view along the Earthquake Trail. One of the things I like about Pt. Reyes National Seashore is the diversity of environments…
Leslie and Peggy stand on the San Andreas Fault and demonstrate how far the fault slipped in 1906.
This old black and white photo included by the park service along the Earthquake Trail shows the actual slippage created by the 1906 earthquake. You can see the actual crack in the ground.
And this photo from the Earthquake Trail shows the impact of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.
NEXT BLOG: We will visit Limantour Beach and go for a beach walk.