Point Reyes Peninsula

No visit to the San Francisco area would be complete without spending some time on Point Reyes peninsula.

It juts out into the Pacific Ocean about 20 miles, and is part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

We made a quick run in the late afternoon, and found nothing of real significance, although the sundown was nice.
DSC_7916_aThe lighthouse at its point does not occupy the high ground, but is at the tip and down 300 feet from the land mass. Turns out that was a good move, because fog is frequent and it generally is more dense the higher you go. This placement ensures the greatest opportunity for its light to be seen by ships on the water.

The wind is so terrific at the lighthouse point (they’ve recorded a gust of 133mph!) that trees just don’t grow until a mile inland. Fog is ever present, and temperatures seem to be 10 degrees cooler than the mainland.

The lighthouse was closed when we were there, and I wasn’t impressed by the lighting for a shot from 300 feet away…down the cliff….

Didn’t I start this post by recommending a visit?

Well, we read up about Point Reyes, and decided to made a return visit.

Good move.

First of all, it was a sunny day, so photos were more fun and stopping along the way was more worthwhile. You learn so much more when you slow down….
DSC_7847_aThe peninsula is about 20 miles wide near the mainland, and really has some convoluted topography with pretty dense forest in several areas. But the trees get interesting nearer the point where they quit growing.
DSC_7823_aDSC_7853_aDSC_7915_aThis last photo shows a line of trees that have managed to grow near the lighthouse point in the lee of the lightkeeper’s residence. They cling to the edge of a precipice with this strange posture!

Back from the point a ways, the ground drops down near the ocean level.
DSC_8545_aOne of us went closer, to capture the waves in a more personal way….
DSC_8692_aAll of this was interesting enough, but then we came back from the point a couple miles, and went over to a protected cove on the north side.

Elephant seals!
DSC_8430_aDSC_8465_aWe were kept back from their beach by signs and topography, but we could hear their roaring noises when the alpha male was displeased by the approach of another male from the water! The two smaller seals in the second photo were playing with each other, under the watchful eye of a seemingly amused older male.

But wait, there’s more!

The park undertook an effort in 1970 to assist in bringing back from near extinction one of the two types of elk that are found only in California, Tule Elk. They have done well here, growing from 10 animals to about 450.

The light was perfect, and this small group was grazing near the road. They were magnificent animals. Click on each picture to see it with full detail!
DSC_8869_aDSC_8876_aDSC_8878_aDSC_8892_aDSC_8913_a

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6 thoughts on “Point Reyes Peninsula

  1. Point Reyes was one of my favorite places too. 30 degree temps with a 30 mph cross wind tested my light jacket! The lighthouse may bring back memories from the movie THE FOG with Janet Leigh filmed in the 60’s and just up the road Bodega Bay where THE BIRDS was filmed. Wishing all a happy and blessed New Year. Tom Crowl

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