Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Week With Friends, Part II

After spending a second night in Santa Rosa at Leslie, Natalie's cousin's house, we managed to get ourselves up early, eat a quick breakfast, pack up the van and point it towards Point Reyes. We drove through the lovely rounded hills of the Coastal Range under cloudy skies, enjoying glimpses of  raptors and a coyote,  and then found a place to hike to the beach. We all enjoyed the winding trail, wildflowers, huge surf and wandering around on the small beach. As we approached the trail head, we found several groups of Tule elk.


There were several groups of these animals but none with horns

Lichens growing on a fence rail

Going down to the beach

Almost to the beach

Beach landscape

Thistle flowers at the beach

A pile of kelp showing the hollow tubes

The gang- Bob is hiding behind Tracy

Birds, rocks, surf and fog

After we got back to the car, we traveled on to Point Reyes over winding roads with beautiful views. Point Reyes Lighthouse is not open on the early days of the week so we didn't get to climb down the thirty flights worth of stairs to visit the inside of the light house. The day was cloudy and getting foggier and we could not find any whales, although they were supposed to be passing by. We did get find a few puffins and had a peregrine falcon land very close to us on the cliff. The brants, however, continued to elude us.


Camomile flowers near the Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Conglomerate with a whale bone in front


Surf at the beach of Point Reyes Lighthouse - dots are seals or sea lions


The Point Reyes Lighthouse - I've never been here when I could climb down to see it inside


From the Lighthouse, we continued through the fields of dairy cattle towards the Point Reyes Visitor Center. We enjoyed the exhibits and the California quail that greeted us in the parking lot with excited calls of "chi CA go, chi CA  go. And we spent some time enjoying the Acorn woodpeckers that had been high on Dutch's list to see, but who had stayed in hiding on previous hunts.
Then as the sun set, we set off over the mountains on a really winding road.  Dutch drove slowly so Natalie wouldn't throw up on anyone and we had glimpses of the ocean between areas where we drove in a tunnel of trees. 

After arriving at San Francisco a little after dark, we checked into our hotel and then walked uphill a few blocks to Natalie's brother's little condo.  He and his wife went with us to supper. We had a a list of restaurants that we want to eat, but several of them were closed so we ended up walking about three miles before we finally found a good Chinese restaurant.  The best dishes among those we ordered and shared were a duck dish and an eggplant dish.

By the time we reached our motel, a mostly downhill walk,  we were all ready to crash.

To be continued.