After weeks of exploring Mount Tam and the surround Bay Area I was on the look-out for more adventure and to have the assurance that I had covered every bit of awesomeness that the city has to offer.
Its pretty easy to look up lonely-planet guides and online blogs and they subsequently pointed me in the direction of Point Reyes- an area that after consultation with my workmates was given a firm seal of approval- in fact so much so that they and my room-mates all wanted to come!
The initial plan was to cycle on my own on the road-bike;
50 miles out to the coast, meandering through the White Hills, past Samuel P Taylor state park to the Point Reyes Shipwreck and finally hiking the remaining 10 miles out to the shoreline. I would then have to rush to get the last bus back as I definitely wouldn’t have it in me to cycle the whole route back. So in a way I was only too happy to have some company from the boys along the way and then a promised lift back from the girls, who were only too happy to ditch the option to cycle there in opt to meet us out there by car.
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To make the most of the day and ensure we would have adequate time to cycle the distance Joel, Brett and myself were up and raring to go by 7.30am on a pretty cold Saturday morning.
We stuck to my initial plan and cycled through the White hills and up an everlasting, quad-busting, ascending gradient- I don’t mind going up short burst of steep terrain, but what really hurts is a long stint of a slowly rising stretch of road- this was exactly that!
When we did reach the top however, we could dwell in the views that stretched across the whole Marin county, with endless hills and valleys absorbing the dense fog, which was slowly burning away to reveal fields of endless green- not too dissimilar from Ireland.
Then the fun part- long stretches of down-hill bursts that took us from the exposed and fog-drenched hills to the protective cover of the redwood forests and small waterfalls that formed Samuel P Taylor Park.
The White Hills and approach to Point Reyes
After an inquisitive pit stop around the waterfalls and riverside of Samuel P Taylor State Park, we headed back on the road towards Point Reyes Point.
10 miles later we stumbled into Point Reyes Station (Not actually a station but a small town) to be greeted by hundreds of other cyclists who were out as teams, clubs, families and individually exploring the surrounding environments. Bikes outnumbered cars by about 3 to 1 and everyone was using the small town as an advantageous social refuge or for better term a ‘station’ and an opportunity to refuel with nutrition and energy bars, jellied sweets and vitamin water.
We too stocked up with some goodies and continued our journey further afield eventually stumbling into the infamous Inverness Shipwreck, which as intriguing as it was at the time, would become so much more spectacular later in the day, as will be revealed!
Inverness Shipwreck, part one!
Our final stop-off before hitting the Reyes shoreline was at one of the many oyster and mussel farms that line the inner Reyes peninsula. I myself love seafood and mussels go down a particular treat, but I’ve never really been a fan of Oysters- in fact my previous experience with them has been an unpleasant one.
Nonetheless, I was keen to give these ones a go, seeing as we had bought a batch of a dozen.
There were hundreds of people who had come as huge groups, with tables, picnic baskets, wines, beers and barbecues to make a day out at the oyster farms, something I’ve never experienced before or even knew the popularity and social occurrence that such a small, shelled mollusc could cause.
As for the oysters themselves, they weren’t bad at all, in fact they were really quite good, although admittedly mine were caked in Tabasco sauce. But it really was a welcoming treat and the surroundings become all the more charming with the level of purpose that had already been put into this day out.
Oysters at Drakes Oyster Farm
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Following our Oyster feast it was time to meet up with the girls who had driven out to the Point Reyes shoreline and depart on our final 10 mile expedition as a group out to the shoreline, which is only accessible by foot. Spectacular is the only synonym in my capacity to sum up the hike!
Picture a scene of enormous sea-carved cliff edges; Sandy beached coves with no footprints to be seen; endless green pastures; Spring budding flowers in the process of blooming and a gentle Easter sunshine. Now add herds of timid deer, huge families of wild Elk, an approaching thunderstorm and a double rainbow- that is pretty much the chronology of events along the hike. If you cant picture all that at once then the images below should help to convey the day we had…
The hike out to Reyes Point, featuring the crew, elk, deer, fields, beaches and some of Joel’s photography
I should also add that some of the pictures are from Joel’s camera, who aswell as being the closest thing possible to action man, is also pretty decent at taking photos. I should also point out that I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned, to date, my room-mates Joel and Lisa (not forgetting the dogs Trinity and Jameson) but I will definitely have to write up a small individual post about them as they were amazing!
As if the hike wasn’t amazing enough, by the time we dwindled back to the cars at sunset and decided to head back into Point Reyes Station for some food the storm had come in from the sea and it decided to chuck it down for all of 20 minutes- the entire duration of the car ride back to Inverness; At which point the sun had overpowered the storm and produced an incredible double rainbow. Upon seeing this we stopped the car immediately and hurdled out along crowds of people who were continually forgetting their pub-grub to be outside to what could just have easily have been the Apocalypse, such was the furore over the spectacle.
As we all marveled at the double rainbow, Joel had further affray thoughts and ran towards the shipwreck to give the neglected ship one last sparkle of magic.
A double rainbow, the final surprise!
Our day of Cycling, Hiking, Forests, Hills, Cliffs, Beaches, Fields, Flowers, Oysters, Elk, Deer, Storms, Sunshine and Rainbows was complete with dinner in one of the traditional small eateries in Point Reyes Station accompanied with a post-storm sunset and some very satisfying home-brewed IPAs. What a way to spend a Saturday…only in San Francisco!!