Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Island in Time

The Point Reyes National Seashore

Looking north on Tomales Point, with my beloved "Minnie Winnie" and the historic Pierce Point Ranch in the distance. The Pacific Ocean is to the west (left) and Tomales Bay to the east.
From my vantage point on the southern part of Tomales Point is does indeed seem to be an island, with Tomales bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. But when the Point Reyes Peninsula was dubbed "Island in Time" in the late 1950's by a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, the sobriquet also captured its transitory nature, and the opportunity to preserve it from the pressures of development.

A pause to look back on Tomales Bay on my way to a hike on Tomales point
A mama elk in the Tomales Point preserve

Tomales Bay from Tomales Point

Where the Pacific Ocean meets California

Papa elk

Despite the apparent scowl, I really am quite happy here
On the Pierce Point Dairy Ranch, established about 1850. The Tomales Point trail starts here.

An 8-mile hike rates a PB&J snack, cup of tea, and a dip into "The Martian", by Andy Weir

Sundown near Elephant Rock

A paddling adventure on Drake's Esterro
Drake's Estero

A break during paddling Drake's Esterro to contemplate a 6-mile upwind paddle to return to the put-in at Drake's Bay Oyster Farm 
A trail to the ocean. 
I think one of life's great pleasures is to experience the sensations of a walk through woods to the ocean. On the Bear Valley and Miller Point Trail you are rarely out of earshot of the rippling of a creek, birdsong, and the earthy dampness of deep woods. Then there is a hint of a breeze carrying salt air, and finally the woods open up to the immensity of the ocean and the rhythmic wash of the surf.

Looking north from Miller Point
On the last day of my visit I decided on a pilgrimage of sorts to Miller Point. California's Congressman Clem Miller was key in preserving Point Reyes from developers. By the time funds were available to purchase the land bulldozers had already plowed up roads and building pads, and homes were under construction. Plans had called for a highway from San Francisco, boat harbor, restaurants,etc.

Even once the land was secured from the real estate developers it was not safe, as the park service had plans for a "theme park" development akin to the Yosemite catastrophe, with a huge campground, boat rentals, snack bars, and shops. Fortunately the preservation movement managed to grab the reins. Now this lovely land of beaches, sand dunes, rocky shorelines, lagoons, open pasture land, and forested mountains is as it was when I often visited it in the 1950's and 60's with aunts and uncles, with high school friends, and later with my children. 
Eric at Kehoe Beach, 1975
On Kehoe Beach


  1. Very beautiful place.

    I never walked through the woods to an ocean. A lake, but no ocean.

    I often wonder why National Parks are preserved for naturalistic beauty and then ruined by commercialization and over use. Good we have what we have though.

  2. Great photos of a beautiful part of the world. I'd love to own a "Minnie Winnie"!

  3. Beautiful spot. I think my family once went camping at Point Reyes or nearby ... I remember the elk.

  4. Fantastic photos, and great insight! That looks like a very beautiful place, I'm very glad it was preserved in its natural state.

    I too would love to own a "Minnie Winnie"... perhaps installed on top of a VW Hormiga... XD

    1. Ha ha, Miguel. It would look only slightly more ridiculous than it does mounted on a 1988 4-cylinder Toyota! But somehow she does the job.

  5. The writing is as wonderful as the photos. Thank you.