There’s a wealth of landscapes to choose from when it comes to hiking in Marin. Sometimes I crave beach time. A walk to the Sir Francis Drake memorial was long overdue.
Drake’s Beach, in Point Reyes National Seashore, lines Drake’s Bay’s crescent. Having a southwestern exposure, guarded by the end of the Peninsula, it’s often a refuge from the wind.
Scholars believe Sir Francis Drake harbored here in June and July of 1579 while fixing a leak in his ship the Golden Hinde. He made trips inland writing:
“Farre diferent from the shoare, a goodly country.”
A goodly country I agree! So beautiful out here. Apparently a brass monument he left here, claiming the land for Queen Elizabeth I, naming it Nova Albion for the white cliffs “which lie toward the sea.” This plaque’s never surfaced. Some contest the idea. Some compare the pale-colored cliffs here to the White Cliffs of Dover.
A deluge of rain a couple weeks ago coupled with the New Moons exceptionally low tide made for unique beach sights. Rock formations, usually buried, were uncovered by the scouring waves.
For reference, the mouth of Drake’s Estero empties into Drake’s Bay after the second cliff in this photo:
A ring of rock:
Almost took this box-like formation of rocks to be man-made. Nope. Reminds me of the fin-like boxwork one finds on cave ceilings.
Soothing to think of water repeatedly washing through the same little channels in this rock, wearing it away.
Half way down the cliffs part, a creek drains through, a wide expanse of sand unrolls.
Looking back over my shoulder. See the wee farm house on far-right top of the bluff?
After a mile and a half or so a huge expanse of dunes and sand open up, the wind races through, empties mouth of Drake’s Estero. A basin between Inverness Ridge and the PR Headlands, the Estero has 4 bays (Barries, Creamery, Schooner and Home). Schooners once passed through and up to pick up cargo (mostly famed PR butter).
A controversial decision to boot out Drakes Bay Oyster Company was just made based on biased and (some charge) inaccurate studies by the NPS. This farm’s been a part of local, sustainable, clean farming for 80 years. Cows roam the Peninsula They, too are a part of the historical fabric of the area. They’re not being evicted. I and 90% of surveyed locals are outraged at this.
But this is another post entirely.
A sweeping expanse of dunes at the mouth:
Limantour beach is across the way, Inverness Ridge in the background.
Looking up the Estero:
I combed the sand for goodies. Check out this critter:
Walking up the left side of the Estero looking toward the mouth:
Found a treasure chest of Ochre Sea Stars. They feed mostly on mussels, pulling apart the shells with their suctioning feet. Tolerant of air, they can be exposed at low tide for up to 6 hours.
They come in purple:
On the edge of the dunes (my distance pic of this area didn’t turn out) sits a little pond, full of sweet little birds I’ll add, and a monument to Drake’s landing here. An old anchor sits at the base. Two Ravens sat atop the post, sharing an intimate session of grooming each other an interesting babble of noises. What a treat! A trail heads up the back of the bluff meeting with the beach. I followed the beach back.
Storms wash up all sorts of goodies. I found four fishing floats, beach trash really, and a milk crate. I’ve been looking for one for my bike rack. Score!
Ate a late lunch, knit a few rounds on my Pinata Sock, headed back, stopping for oysters at the Oyster Company on the way back.
Yep…my new favorite beach.