I was working on a project when a buddy texted me and asked if I wanted to go explore Point Reyes National Seashore. That’s all I needed to hear. I grabbed my Vibram CVT Hemp shoes, Prana Brion Shorts, Arc'teryx Rho AR, and a Detroit Tigers McDonald's-made hat from the 80s...and I was on my way.
As you cross the Golden Gate bridge headed north, you travel through beautiful peninsular California, from city to superb to village, until you realize there will be no more stores. Much of the press from Point Reyes are from the strikingly-beautiful coastline—and rightly so—but the lead up to the park is intriguing in it’s own right. The road toward the coast travels in the woods along an inlet and it’s dotted with...farms.
The beautiful California coast juxtaposes the cattle roaming and the traditional farmhouses that form the center of the property. It’s an interesting comparison, particularly as you draw nearer to the coast and the trees become less frequent.
But then...the coast. As the drum of the waves starts to echo, long before you can see it, you start to feel the ripe history of the place. It looks like the end of the world for settlers of hundreds of years previous. You cannot go any further, so you stop. And then you keep farming. I heard an interesting fact from a friend recently that said 60% of families used to make their living from raising food.
My friend and I parked at what looked like a historic ranch, no longer in use. The land near the ocean is quite elevated. So even though you can be close to the water, you’re still high up. That’s because the shoreline is miles and miles of cliffs! To get there, you have to hike down small creek-like veins hidden by lush low-lying vegetation. We picked one and began our hike down the trail toward the water. The vegetation there seemed smaller and more shrub like and it almost reminded me of a lush version of hiking above the timberline, even though this was only a couple hundred feet above sea level.
As we drew near the coast, the quantity of plants diminished and the presence of of creek shown more vividly against the oranges and browns of the growing valley walls.
And there it was, the deep teal/blue of the Pacific Ocean—cold and foreboding both in it’s appearance and the temperature if you brave the waters.
The coast, on the ground level, is like stepping inside the most ornate home you’ve ever seen and taking up residence there. The tall cliff walls holding you in with the shore crashing up steep beaches, with pools of water forming as tiny refreshing pools to cool yourself in, with the water much warmer as it’s given the chance to bake in the sun.
The scene was entrancing. I could have stayed for days (or at least hours, since I was really wasn’t ready to camp).
Eventually, we made our way to the one of the most iconic locations in the park, with one of the most iconic views—the lighthouse.
The drive up to it was more of the same, with the beauty of the coast showing itself over each hill and around each turn.
The view from above was more of the same beauty—but much higher. We could see incredibly far away, tracing the length of Point Reyes (and beyond) to the north and spying coastal San Francisco far further south.
It’s windy up there, don’t get me wrong, but you see so much of the beautiful California coastline and that’s a really lovely experience.
The place, all in all, is a unique gem that speaks of natural California and yet reminds of settlers from the 1800s, all together on the powerful Pacific Coast.