Point Reyes National Seashore - May 2021

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Spring is a great time to walk at Point Reyes National Seashore, because the area seems to have an extended wildflower season, from March to May. 

A handful of us met at the Bear Valley visitor center and then drove to the first of two hikes. 

Bull Point Trail - This easy walk brought sweeping views of Drake's Estero. It was 1.8 miles to the turn-around point, where most of us sat on a big log and had a light lunch.

Only a little further to the west we could see Limantour Beach, where the Estero merges into Drake's Bay & then into the Pacific Ocean (see historical note on Sir Francis Drake below).      

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

Bull Point trail lupine marshy area Drake's Estero
  checkerbloom Jean & Bonnie thistle
yellow-eyed grass some kind of berry douglas iris finding a lunch spot
  John & Rich    
blue-eyed grass and plantain leaves white yarrow Kim took the group photo

Historical note - Drake's Estero & Drake's Bay are named for English explorer Francis Drake, who in 1579 explored the west coast of the US and then raided Spanish gold mines along the west coast of South American. There's a good chance that Drake's fleet stopped in the bay later to be named after him, for repairs & misc. re-supplying needs.  

History says his men contacted local tribal villages and successful trading was conducted. A compelling bit of evidence of Drake's presence is an Elizabethan sixpence dated 1567, found by archeologists at a native Miwok village in what is now Olompali State Park.  

By the time he arrived home at Plymouth, England, the Golden Hind (the only one of three ships to make it back) was loaded with gold. The revenue & international slight to Spain was well-received by a grateful QE I, who soon knighted him, becoming Sir Francis Drake. Unfortunately, his overall career encompassed more failures than successes & he turned into a tragic figure, later dying & being buried at sea.   

Thankfully, there were no bulls on Bull Point walk. Once back at the cars, John & Kim left to get back to Pepper, their new Australian Shepherd, stuck at home today because PRNS does not allow dogs on any trails.   

Abbott's Lagoon Trail - I've been on this trail many times, but it always seems like a new place, as its character changes through the year. Well, it is also usually a few years back since my last visit, so maybe my photo-perspective has changed, too. 

Photos from my last visit here (with my wife) are on the October 2018 Point Reyes page. 

It was a 1.5 mile walk to the bridge between upper and lower lakes, although all of us walked further. John & Cathy and I made it to within about 300 ft. of the Pacific, close enough to hear the percussive effect when surf pounds on a steeply-inclined beach.  

Because of potential sleeper waves, and the steep incline, you almost never see people sitting within 100 ft. of the ocean's reach. 

Abbott's Lagoon walk yellow bush lupine walkers salmonberry
  stinging nettle, see note John & Cathy Jean, Bonnie & Rich
cow parsnip and upper lake poppy en masse  poppy cascade in the dunes
    hedge nettle or Strachys sp., in the mint family iris again
white yarrow again beach sagebrush, an Artemisia   the Ocean is just  ahead
      ...imagine the sound of waves breaking continuously...
two sides of the same mound on the way back John B.

note - the nettles in the photo seem to lean out towards trail-walkers, but you certainly don't want to touch them. If you do then tiny hairs on the leaves lodge like needles in your skin, later causing burning sensations & a rash which can last for days. Yet the plant has merit: herbalists find the roots to be nutritious & able to reduce human inflammation. 

Rich estimated that the two hikes added up to almost 7 miles today; it was a good day out in interesting terrain.       

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postscript 1 - We were on the trail until 4 pm, and on the drive back detoured to Moylan's Brewpub in Novato for an early dinner.  Moylan's menu is simple and they have many good brews on tap. I had a San Quentin Breakout Stout, which was delicious, complimenting their garlic fries & a vegan burger.

Garlic fries here are 'the real McCoy', on the verge of being too much garlic, a rare find. At 5 pm on a Saturday, Moylan's was uncrowded, with distancing between the few patrons present, so we had privacy & enjoyed top-notch service. 

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postscript 2 - my thanks to Rich for his later emails & photos helping to identify the flowers & plants we saw.