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Point Reyes National Seashore

Well, I’m back from my trip to the San Francisco area. But there are oodles of pictures and places to share so we can keep on field tripping.

Take a full tank of gasoline—hybrid even better—and head on out to the remote and top-of-the-world Point Reyes National Seashore, all 70,000 acres about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. Wow!

When you go, enjoy the rolling coastal grasslands on the way. Pass the cows and cattle of the historic landmark ranches—a beautifully pastoral landscape scene in Northern California’s green season. It’s an opportunity to learn about the history of ranching here if you so choose. You might be interested in reading about The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), the first land trust in the United States to focus on farmland preservation. http://www.malt.org/

Though it was April, once arriving at the top we found a need to hunt in the trunk for a buried set of ear muffs and scarf. There is a wind chill factor at the top of the world—it may be the windiest point on the Pacific coastline. Ear muffs worked well for one set of ears. A rumpled white towel had to stand in as a scarf for the other person–me. Didn’t care how silly I looked with a white towel wound around my neck and ears. One can enjoy the geology, the passing gray whales if you’re lucky (we weren’t). The overhead views of the ocean bring various movie dramas to mind. Just dress in layers.

Ice plants are a delight to see. Read the signs all about the wonderful world of lichens and algae. Though not true plants, they dot and coat the rocky landscape at Point Reyes with a reward of color. Surviving harsh winds and salt spray, hundreds of other species of plants and animals inhabit this expansive seashore—900 species of vascular plants alone. I didn’t see nearly that many, but someone’s sure been doing a lot of counting. “Over 50 plants at Point Reyes are currently listed [and monitored] by the Federal government, State government, or the California Native Plant Society as being rare, threatened, or endangered.” Find out more at http://www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm.

Now, there is a lighthouse with legacy down a steep set of 308 stairs. But judging from the huffing and puffing of the 20 year olds coming back up the stairs—I skipped that part and used my imagination.

We timed the field trip perfectly finishing up the field trip just as an eerie fog crept in over the cliffs from the Pacific.

An aside: The latrine at the top of the world offers no running water, so pack those pre-moistened wipes for freshening up!

Nancy R. Peck

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