Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
Posted by Jody on March 15, 2013
Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
Posted by Jody on March 13, 2013
Abbotts Lagoon Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Northern California
The lovely 1 ½ mile walk through coastal vegetation (across a bridge over a small river dividing the two-stage lagoon and traversing soft, shifting sandy hills) might seem a bit more like a hearty (yet low-key) footslog than a “moderate walk.” The unequaled Abbotts Lagoon “trail” brings hikers through soft, deep sands that seem to slow one down to the bare minimum speed. In this piece of Point Reyes paradise, wayfarers can expect a scenic and unhurried journey!
Greg and I weren’t in any rush on the day we visited! The leisurely pace made it all the easier for us to really take in the spectacular scenery along the diverse trail. Wildflowers abound at Abbots Lagoon, and bird watching is simply unavoidable! We didn’t actually see very many birds on our January visit, but these lagoons reportedly attract many species of migrating shorebirds in the fall, followed by ducks during the winter months.
If you’re really lucky, you may even spy a peregrine falcon looking for a tasty meal! The sand dunes backing the beach are also home to the threatened western snowy plover. It’s important for visitors to keep an eye out and tread carefully on the sandy beach during their nesting season (spring and early summer).
Eventually the path opened up before us to an awe-inspiring panorama of the Pacific Ocean. This varied trail brings happy hikers right to the shores of the Great Beach. The far-reaching Great Beach is actually made up of many sections of sandy shoreline, and the beach at Abbots Lagoon is just one small, beautiful portion of the uninterrupted 11 mile expanse of bluffs, dunes, and natural shoreline.
Greg and I were blown away by the beautiful “sands” we found near Abbotts Lagoon. Sifting through the rich greens, bold reds, and bright yellows of the tiny beach pebbles was an amusing highlight of a lovely walk to a beautiful beach on a warm and sunny winter’s day!
Up, down, out and across; there’s something to see in every direction on the trail to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon!
Helpful link: National Park Service/Point Reyes National Seashore
Posted by Jody on February 18, 2013
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch -
we are going back from whence we came.”
Posted in Northern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beach photography, Kehoe Beach California, Marin County California beach, Point Reyes National Seashore beach, Presidents Day, Washington's Birthday | 14 Comments »
Posted by Jody on October 15, 2012
When I think “Big,” I think of The Great Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s a biggie, alright! This grand strand goes on for as far as the eye can see, with 11 miles of undeveloped Pacific Ocean shoreline to explore. The amazing, larger than life sandy coastline is located in Marin County, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, California. Also known as Point Reyes Beach, The Great Beach includes sections called South Beach (closest to the headlands) and North Beach. Beautiful!
“We need to keep some of our vanishing shoreline an unspoiled place, where all men, a few at a time, can discover what really belongs there ~can find their own Island in Time.”
~Harold Gilliam, “Island in time; The Point Reyes Peninsula“
Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach, Marin County California beach, North Beach Point Reyes National Seashore, postaday, South Beach Point Reyes National Seashore, The Great Beach Point Reyes National Seashore, Weekly Photo Challenge | 11 Comments »
Posted by Jody on September 25, 2012
I’ve seen Stinson Beach, California on many a “Best Shelling Beaches” list. Truth be told, though, I’ve never found a take-home seashell or sand dollar on this beautiful stretch of Northern California coastline. No kidding!
Greg and I don’t go to Stinson Beach for its renowned (rumored?) beachcombing. We love heading to this beautiful beach for the quiet serenity of a long winter’s walk on a seemingly endless shoreline. I’m not sure if we’ve ever even been to Stinson Beach during the summer months, and that’s OK. Although there are lifeguard towers evident on the beach, with an average summer water temperature of 58°F, year-round rip current warnings and a shark attack history, we never plan to do much more than get some sand between our toes!
Even though this very thorough warning sign is posted prominently at the entrance to the beach, the Golden Gate National Recreation Site page states: “Swimming is only recommended from late May to mid-September when lifeguards are on duty.” All righty then…
The following Q & A comes from a wonderful White Shark Information webpage supported by the California Department of Fish and Game. In it you can find answers to many questions about white sharks (aka: great white sharks, or if you’re a surfer: the men in the grey suits). The site covers everything from what white sharks typically eat to how to tell white sharks from other species of sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. It’s definitely worth a look!
Q: How can people avoid white shark attacks?
There is only one foolproof method for avoiding a white shark attack: stay out of the ocean. If this is not an option, try to avoid places known for white sharks, such as the Farallon Islands, Ao Nuevo, and Bird Rock near Point Reyes. Another suggestion is to avoid swimming in areas where marine mammals are congregating. Don’t swim in or near areas frequented by sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals, etc. or near their rookeries.
Wearing a wetsuit and fins, or lying on a surfboard, creates the silhouette of a seal from below. Shark attacks are often believed to be cases of mistaken identity, with surfing or swimming humans mistaken for seals or sea lions. Times of reduced sunlight, such as foggy mornings or dusk, are ideal times to be mistaken for a seal.
Stinson Beach is located about 20 twisty miles north of San Francisco. Open every day of the year, Stinson Beach has rest rooms and shower facilities, picnic areas, and BBQ grills. Whale-watching is big here January through March. A snack bar is open during summer months and kayak and boogie board rentals are also available then. Keep in mind that Fido is not allowed on the beach area maintained by the National Park Service, but is welcome (on leash) in the parking lot area, picnic grounds and on the county section of the beach known as Upton’s Beach.
“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” ~Bruce (Great White Shark), Finding Nemo
Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Northern California Beaches, Sharks, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: beach, beach safety sign, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin County California beach, shark safety tips, Stinson Beach California | 10 Comments »
Posted by Jody on July 2, 2012
It made us go “Hmmm… How ’bout we just stick to the sand today!”
And so we did.
Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Northern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beach safety sign, beach sign, Kehoe Beach California, Marin County California beach, Point Reyes National Seashore beach | 5 Comments »
Posted by Jody on June 13, 2012
I always thought that the striking, colorful ice plants that grow so profusely along the dunes and on the rocky bluffs of California’s Pacific coastline were native to the Golden State. Was I ever wrong! I do still think they are absolutely striking, but now I know that they are definitely not native. In fact, ice plants (Carpobrotus edulis) were intentionally brought to California from South Africa in the early 1900s to stabilize the coastal sands and help control erosion.
Well, you know what they say about the “best laid plans.” They often go awry.
Ice plants are mat-forming perennials. They have very thick, triangularly shaped, smooth and fleshy leaves with pretty yellow or pink flowers. Once intended to maintain the stability the coastal dunes, these rapidly spreading, non-native succulents are now recognized as an invasive species. Growing year round, a single ice plant shoot segment can grow up to three feet in one year, threatening the delicate ecosystem and unique environment of California’s coastal dunes.
The colorful blankets of ice plants squeeze out indigenous plants, and native dune vegetation has to compete for nutrients, space, water and sunlight. In some areas ice plants have completely taken over, preventing the native flora from thriving and slowing the natural process of dune migration.
As the late, great Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”
So now, at Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California, Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Projects are taking place to remove both the non-native invasive European beachgrass and the ice plant from coastal dune habitats to “restore natural dune processes and function.” Would you like to know more? There is a very thorough article on the National Park Service website entitled “Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Project: Why is Dune Restoration Important?” It is long, but it covers everything you might want to know on the topic, and so much more. It’s very interesting reading!
By golly, ya really do learn something new everyday!
Suggestions? Tips? Comments? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment space below!
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Flora, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: Carpobrotus edulis, coastal sand dune restoration, coastal sand dune threat, coastal sand dunes, iceplant, Marin County California beach, North Beach Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes National Seashore, The Great Beach Point Reyes National Seashore | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jody on April 3, 2012
McClures Beach, tucked away in Point Reyes National Seashore, is Mother Nature’s perfect sandy crescent to ponder the power of the pounding surf. Surrounded by high, steep cliffs, this small, 1/2 mile long beach is the place to take a break from civilization. McClures Beach’s rocky, driftwood strewn shoreline sets the scene for an amazing experience. Rough boulders scattered about this beautiful, rugged cove serve as front row seats. You’ll just want to choose a perch, scramble up, and settle in. The thundering waves are the stars of the show here!
Greg and I headed for the McClures Beach parking lot just off of Pierce Point Road, at the far north of Point Reyes National Seashore. A hint of what was in store for us could be seen from the trailhead, and we couldn’t wait to hurry down the sandy path! The distant view of the Pacific Ocean was enough to set a brisk pace for the short .6 mile trek to the beach. The best was yet to come…
I recommend a good, sturdy pair of shoes for this coastal trek. First, the sometimes steep, often uneven footpath requires a firm foothold. Second, you’ll want them for climbing up to your wave watching vantage point. Third, well, that’s still a secret!
Okay, now I’ll tell you. Reason #3 for sturdy shoes: Once you have traveled this far on south on the sand you may be able to sneak through a “secret” passage carved through the rock to an enchanting, secluded cove on the other side of McClures Beach.
If you want to explore beyond the main beach, it’s really important to know the tide schedule for the Seashore (available at the visitor centers daily). The National Park Service warns: “It is tempting to venture around the southern corner to explore the adjacent beach, but use caution! This area can only be safely accessed during the outgoing low tide.” If the tide is heading out, you can pass through the cliff and experience an absolutely magical moment when you discover a very small, almost mystical beach.
The dreamlike quality of this little hidden cove nearly took our breath away. We felt like we were the first explorers to ever set eyes on this fairytale coast.
I have no doubt that you’re going to feel the same way!
Wishing you many magical days at the beach!
Posted by Jody on February 29, 2012
Kehoe Beach, located within the Point Reyes National Seashore, is one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline Greg and I have ever visited. A little more than a 1/2 mile walk from Pierce Point Road, you’ll find a startlingly beautiful strand where golden sand meets the sea. Majestic, peaceful, awe inspiring…
Today, the pictures tell the story.
Kehoe Beach is absolutely gorgeous. What more can I say?
Have a beautiful day at the beach!
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Northern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: beach, California tide pools, Kehoe Beach California, Marin County California beach, Point Reyes National Seashore beach, tide pool marine life | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jody on February 9, 2012
I have to admit, the moment Greg and I entered the little unincorporated community of Bolinas, California, the lyrics to the song “Funky Town” ran through my mind. It kept playing and playing, all the way to the beach. (There it is again!)
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to
Funkytown ~ Lyrics by Steven Greenberg ~Thanks a lot!
If you are in the area, then Bolinas Beach is a must-do stop in my book! About 30 miles north of San Francisco, off of State Route 1, this beach is jam-packed with personality (personalities, rather)! You’ll see surfers galore, paddle boarders, splashers, and sunbathers. The Bolinas townsfolk are as eclectic a bunch as you’ll ever see, and many of them are at the beach. The day we were there, a disheveled man raced past us in the current, heading out to sea from the direction of Bolinas Lagoon. His vessel? Some sort of tiny, makeshift raft, complete with an umbrella set up as a mast. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the shore, soaking wet and on foot, still wearing his leather jacket. His hat was still securely tied onto his head with what appeared to be a white gym sock. We will never know what final destination he had in mind!
Do yourself a favor and set aside some time to watch the surfers at Bolinas Beach. Better yet, take a surf lesson! The views here are amazing, and the beachcombing is fantastic! We found everything from Giant Rock Scallops and colorful sea glass to beautifully bored mudstone.
By the way, be sure to have a good map or GPS. Bolinas is not signed from State Route 1. The scuttlebutt is that the locals take those pesky things down.
~We took Olema-Bolinas Road and followed through to Wharf Road. Parking was limited at the end of the street.
Have a great day at the beach!
Won’t you take me to
Won’t you take me to…
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Northern California Beaches, Seashells, Surfing Beach | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, beachcombing in Northern California, Bolinas California beach, California surfing beach, collecting sea glass, Marin County California beach | 5 Comments »