Point Bonita Part Deux – Now Reachable! August 24, 2012Posted by Heather in Lighthouses, Marin County.
Tags: Golden Gate, Marin Headlands, Point Bonita Lighthouse
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My last trip to the Point Bonita lighthouse stopped me in my tracks. Literally. The access bridge, in desperate need of repairs, was closed. Now, it’s open. The tunnel that reaches the bridge has limited open hours: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Should you visit, the NPS has a brochure full of interesting facts and a map.
Remember her from a past post? Such a pretty place.
The museum contained a knowledgeable docent, many old photos, artifacts and (I found fascinating) exhibits on the geology of the bay floor. After plunking a donation into the collection box (there is no entry fee collected at this park but hey…our parks need help) I toured the exhibits.
Here’s a map noting a few famous shipwrecks off the coast. There were many:
A drawing of the lamp. I find it striking.
A view north along the Marin Headlands Coast:
Peeking around the point (as far as the guard rail allows) at the Golden Gate. Imagine navigating ships through this dangerous, rocky spot, full of wild currents, before modern navigational tools? Point Bonita was the third lighthouse on the CA coast. Such an important job!
Such a lucky gal I am to have backyard access to such a beautiful place of historical significance.
McClures Beach Goodness January 13, 2012Posted by Heather in Beaches, California, Hiking, Marin County.
Tags: McClures beach, Point Reyes National Seashore
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This one’s pretty easy to get to being a short down-hill walk (about half a mile each way, I believe.)
Being the day after a three-day stretch of work I was exhausted, needing decompression.
A field of mustard along Pierce Point Rd on the drive out. A thin ribbon of road, it’s the best kind.
Sticky Monkey Flower on the trail down. Butterflies dig it and the Miwok Native Americans used it as an antiseptic agent.
I parked my butt here on a blanket, removed my shoes, letting my senses reboot.
Turkey Vultures were flying in a figure eight type pattern directly overhead. Made me a little uneasy I’ll admit. Then I noted them landing beside the rock pile against the sandy cliff in the background. Wings outspread and hopping about they must have been picking apart some sort of carcass.
Knowing they weren’t scouting out my beached figure I closed my eyes and napped. It was glorious. Then I woke, ate lunch, read, knit, and repeated.
A bathing beauty. I enjoy watching vultures fly.
Remember my mentioning in THIS POST the Point Reyes Penn. being formed of granitic rocks capped in sedimentary rocks? Here’s a great example of that. As a cute aside, a little girl ran up, scampered to the top of this pile of granite and peered down at my sitting form below. ”This is dollar bill mountain,” She exclaimed. According to her folks she once found a dollar bill atop here and was searching for another.
Dusk nearing. The other end of the beach has rocks one can pass over at low tides but they look really dangerous to me.
I haven’t figured out how to take decent dusk photos.
Headed back up in the dark. On the way home was treated to a full moon rising. Stopped at Nicasio Lake to watch its yellow path stretch across the black surface.
What a day.
Winter Warmth – Rush Creek Preserve January 3, 2012Posted by Heather in Hiking, Marin County.
Tags: Rush Creek Preserve
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It’s warm here in CA.
This morning I flew west from MN, napping and waking to WY mountains, the crumpled relief of NV and, most spectacularly a giant blue polka dot in the distance. Mono Lake!
Cue the Sierras.
Today I flew over Yosemite. Sure looks big from above despite the distance. What a treat! Can’t wait for a winter window to visit.
Approaching the Bay I reveled in anticipated warmth. Though MN was a bizarre, balmy 30-40′s most of my time there the past few days hovered around 15. Folks, I’ve gone all wimpy and just can’t tolerate that chill. Windchill was brutal.
Made me think of the sunny and gold-painted hills in store.
Here, some light to warm your day:
Rush Creek Preserve, offers a convenient walk or bikeride. A loop or out and back trails pass primo bird habitat, grassy hillsides and gracious oaks. Go far enough and you pass a huge slough edged with thick woods. Evening hikes often reveal the calls of owls. Such a simple, calming sound.
If you’re reading this from somewhere chilly and need some warmth, imagine yourself here. It will help.
Point Bonita – Isn’t She Lovely? October 21, 2011Posted by Heather in California, Lighthouses, Marin County.
Tags: Marin Headlands, Marin Hed, Point Bonita, Point Bonita Lighthouse
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Imagine looking across the SF Bay mouth with no iconic red bridge spanning the shores. Hard to imagine, eh?
Sleuthing on Google images, this photo, post 1906 SF earthquake, shows the city in a state of rebuild. Note Alcatraz island in the lower right corner with no bridge to Marin in the left.
This post was born of curiosity from a jaunt down to Point Bonita Lighthouse. A docent, standing at lighthouse bridge, shared much info and history. Curious for more tidbits, at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center I viewed some old photos (photographing some for this post) and picked the brains of some park employees for more info.
A little online sleuthing furthered my edu-macation.
Point Bonita greets one on the left as you enter the bay. See highlighted point below:
How did it come to be?
Hollers of “Gold!” filled the CA air in 1848. In 1849 San Francisco, being the main port for gold seekers entering CA, boomed from 900 to 20,000 occupants. All that boat traffic = numerous shipwrecks off the treacherous coast guarding the bay.
Point Bonita was the 3rd lighthouse built on the west coast. Originally 300′ above the water, they found the fog too thick for the lighthouse’s beam of light to be effective. It was located at its current, lower elevation quite close to the water.
A lovely drawing of the original lighthouse. Note, no GGB:
It amazes me to think of families growing up in these lighthouses. I enjoy touring lighthouses. Stepping into the keeper’s quarters reveals layers of lives. Imagine, this was the backyard for some children:
Bonita Cove had a full on rescue operations set up. Boat houses on the hillsides emptied their contents to the shore via long ramps. Many lives were risked by the sailors in those rescue boats.
Today, standing on the point, the GGB exists. Marin Headlands/Golden Gate Nat’l Park protects the surrounding land offering up miles of trails, beaches, a hostel, the Marine Mammal Center, an Arts center and a great little visitor center.
And the lighthouse? She is absolutely beautiful.
A suspension bridge links her sliver of rock foundation to the access tunnel.
Being long overdue for repairs, it is slated for complete replacement and closed to the public. Quite a feat this will be as the bridge is anchored via a large spiral cable embedded in the bedrock. The docent mentioned barges and helicopters as part of the process.
Another view into Point Bonita Cove, there are leftovers from the rescue stations. Seals haul out onto the starfish crusted rocks below. It’s a great place to just stand and observe.
I love spending time here. Now for that GGB – I’ve got some ideas for future posts on that iconic landmark.
What a Weekend! October 2, 2011Posted by Heather in Bicycling, California, Fishing, Marin County.
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It all started with John, Becky and Cara. Friends from Golden, they were in the area for a wedding. We met for breakfast. So glad to catch up and hold that wee 6 week old little girl. Someday, Cara will grow into the sweater I sent them.
Then, I headed up to Sacramento for Drew and Amy’s wedding. Amy and I met a few years back in a knitting group. She’s a true friend. The venue: Scribner Bend Vineyards. She was beautiful. Period. (And rocked a pair of red heels under that dress.)
This AM I took a bike ride along the American River bike path in SAC. Fall’s made things crunchy and brown but the sky and river sparkled blue. It was a great ride.
Fishing in Sausilito wrapped up the day. Imagine my surprise when I reeled up this little bugger. My first crab!
I took the little Dungeness home and cooked it. Made me feel a little bad. Not sure I’ll do that again. Man, was it tasty, though.
Adam hooked a Batray. It gave us both a long, strenuous workout. I’ll bet it weighted 50#. We sent it back into the water just after the click of the camera. Incredible critter. See the bump on the long, whip like tail just after it meets the body? That’s the part that stings.
Whew! I am worked. Packed a lot in this weekend, happily I’ll add.
Labor Day Boating – Guacamole and Magic Light September 12, 2011Posted by Heather in California, Fishing, Marin County.
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Labor Day wrapped up with an evening on the bay.
Captian Adam and friends Joan, Maritza and I left Sausilito around 5 and headed out. All three are former co-workers and great company.
Adam has a nifty old boat, probably built before I arrived in this world.
I love this pic of him, his smile is really this bright and genuine:
A bit blurry, though. But that’s ok.
Tossed a line in and trolled a bit on the way out but no luck. Munched on fresh guac.
Headed to a restaurant as planned but the dock was full and we couldn’t tie up there. Veered away and went past Angel Island. Folks were kayaking, some were tied up in the cove, BBQing and it smelled just divine mingled with the sea-air.
The setting sun paints the city skyline just so, imparting a sort of alpenglow, but not on mountains.
What a view! People were waterskiing but my pic of that didn’t turn out.
How I love being on the water.
So do Joan and Maritza:
Let’s Get Caught Up! – Marin By Land – “Perambulating” September 5, 2011Posted by Heather in California, Hiking, Marin County.
Tags: Hill 88, Marin Headlands, Ring Mountain
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I learned a new word yesterday from my friend Beth.
PERMABULATE, according to dictionary.com means: