Morning in Trinidad

We bid Jared farewell at San Francisco airport at o-dark-thirty, and headed straight back up the coast to the coach in Arcata.

Actually, we drove up Hwy 1 for amusement, but it was raining the whole way and so we didn’t stop for photos.

Can you believe it, two days in San Fran with no rain…Jared’s a lucky guy!

We had to get right over to Trinidad the next morning, to make sure everything was the same as we had left it.

Think so.DSC_6201

A parting shot

We stayed with the elephant seals until very nearly sunset, and realized with a start that we had forgotten about the rest of the peninsula!

We at least had to make sure Jared caught a glimpse of the lighthouse.

This lighthouse was established 300 feet below the crest of land, because fogs were frequent here and they were historically high off the water. It made for a greater effort to operate this unit, because the staff lived on the crest but had to walk down the lengthy staircase you see in order to do their work.

An extra challenge was high winds. It was sometimes the case that the lightkeeper encountered wind so strong, it was necessary for him to crawl up the steps on his hands and knees! The highest recorded wind speed has been 133 mph.

We were probably lucky it was so late in the day…there was a locked gate that prevented us from walking down the steps!DSC_7766

And some are small & beautiful

Lest you think the only animals on Point Reyes are elephant seals….

Right where the dozen bulls were bellowing and sparring, a cluster of these sweet little shore birds were pursuing their life’s work…finding and eating small crustaceans in the sand while running back and forth with the waves.

They knew just when to jump and when to pounce.DSC_7693



Some just big & ugly

We were about to leave the Point Reyes beach overlook with all the elephant seals.

Robyn had been talking to one of the wildlife experts, and she observed how few large males were present.

The docent (hey, give them the title…this place was cold and windy!) said, “Oh, many of the males stop at another beach and hang out together.” Where? “Just over there.”

Oh my, and they were much closer to where we could stand and watch.

Like 6 feet.DSC_7476

This one was sleeping against the fence behind which we had to stand!

I had only brought my long lens, because it was a fair hike to the overlook and I knew from experience the beach was almost a quarter mile away.

So all you get are tight shots…although the setting wasn’t much to look at, so you’re not missing much.

Except the rest of this fella’s body!DSC_7550

Doesn’t he look almost comical?

Not so much, after he got over to where the other young males were sparring.DSC_7651

Their sparring is just practice, because mating season is past and no females are around.

This monster mostly laid on the beach, but got up once to do some bellowing. You can see that his recent sparring has been aggressive enough to draw blood…wonder what the other guy looks like?DSC_7749

Some old, some new

So we spent one day around the city, why not spend our second day before Jared flies out around the coast and nature?

How about Point Reyes?

Did you know there’s a beach near the end of the Point that is usually shelter for elephant seals?DSC_7294

Those two small, dark ones are pups…the momma doing all the gloating is still excited from the morning’s birth of hers! That big one to the right is probably the proud papa.

There were probably 70 on this beach, with about 20 of them this year’s pups.

The gawking tourists are so numerous this time year at Point Reyes, they close down the road to the Point and make everyone ride in massive tour buses! Several knowledgeable wildlife experts were present at this overlook with their spotting scopes.

Just as we were about to leave, the same mother had a touching interaction with her newborn:DSC_7308

The end to a great day

We managed to tear ourselves away from the Presidio in order to head over toward Fisherman’s Wharf to get a bite of early dinner.

Whew, this is trafficus maximus!

Robyn wanted to save us all from the effort to include Ross & Ryan in a restaurant in such a crowd, and offered to stay in the car with them while Jared and I ate somewhere.

The traffic was so bad, we ended up doing kind of a Chinese fire drill at a stop light: Jared and I jumped out of the front doors and walked away, and Robyn climbed forward into the driver’s seat!

She ended up parked a 100 yards from Pier 39 in a pull-out marked for tour buses!

Jared and I headed to a highly rated seafood restaurant on Pier 39, were promptly seated and served an excellent meal…with a view of the setting sun.

On our way back to the car, we stopped for a lovely round loaf of Boudin sourdough bread…a custom Robyn began 45 years ago when she was a student in nearby Angwin.

The traffic had calmed somewhat, and we headed over to Ghirardelli Square. A curb parking spot opened up directly in front of Ghirardelli Chocolate On-the-Go, a great little shop that has a somewhat limited menu and only outdoor seating…and no line to order!

Oh my….chocolate heaven!

How can you top a day like that?

Ummm, our hotel is north…across…well, you know….DSC_7285