Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

Park Visit Progress:  #4 of 40

There’s a bounty of pictures below!

This trip was great…and full of adjusted expectations…but in a very good way.

There wasn’t a fee to get in!  So far I’ve had to pay from $5 to $8 to even drive into some of the parks, so it was a nice surprise.

At first I thought I could hit Pt. Reyes National, Tomales Bay State Park, and also Samuel P. Taylor State Park…all in 5-6 hours…they look so close on the map!  OH, and I had this planned on Labor Day weekend.  I figured “Who going to Parks on a long weekend?  Everyone should be on vacation.”  Seems lots of people come to Point Reyes from all over for their vacation…and the long weekend proved to be the best time to visit.

I adjusted my expectation from 3 parks down to only Point Reyes when I recruited my friend, her daughter, and her nephew to join me.  The young ones are 5 years old and I knew I couldn’t drag them around for too long.  I also knew that my tendency to talk to myself could be passed off as a conversation, if I got any weird looks.

I planned my visit on the National Park Service website and knew which trails I was hoping to go along.  Since my husband is the Amazing Hunter, I decided I wanted to see Tule Elk and figured I’d take the Tomales Point Trail which goes through the Tule Elk Reserve.  BUT~how fun is that for a 5 year old?  Luckily, my friend…let’s call her…Amy, had been to Point Reyes recently and knew about the Earthquake Trail and also the Kule Loklo Trail (We called it the Indian Trail).  Combined the trails were less then 1 ½ miles…perfect for short legs of young ones.  The cool fence that got separated in the 1906 earthquake and also the Indian village were super exciting…and I think the kids had a good time too.


The last expectation I had for the day was to see a lighthouse…so after walking through the Visitor Center, we headed back to the car to make the drive to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Hhmm, sign says 19 miles…really?!  I obviously had no idea the magnitude of this place…it’s huge!  So—We kept going!  And going!  And going!  During the drive I read the brochure about the lighthouse, hoping to get the kids excited and also to draw attention away from the fact we’d been driving for 20 minutes and we didn’t even see water yet.  Finally, after patiently waiting (after 19 miles of twisty road) for just one of the many rental cars to vacate a parking spot for us, we were on our way up the ½ mile trail to the lighthouse  At the end of the trail we had 308 stairs to look forward to…if we wanted to “visit” the lighthouse.  We could see it from the viewing platform but really, that’s not “visiting”.  The young ones enthusiastically exclaimed “Let’s go down the stairs”.  So we went…and it was fabulous!  The Park Ranger gave a little talk inside the lighthouse about what it’s like to live out there now and also 100 years ago.  Soon we had to head UP the 308 stairs and we all made it.  The drive back seemed to go faster and I was amazed that there are working ranches inside the park, some established as early as 1876.

There are a lot more beautiful features that I can’t wait to experience at this park.  I’ll definitely return to Point Reyes and not just because it’s on my list.

Oh!  Almost forgot about the Randomness…

  1. Hiking up the trail to the lighthouse, Amy and I looked at each other as we both realized, we were the only people speaking English.  I don’t know what languages they were, mostly since I only understand Spanish and French—baking words only.  It was kind of interesting to realize you are the minority in the crowd and I was only an hour from home.
  2. What kids say out loud…the innocence is awesome!

In Summary:

1.  Once again, Be flexible—this wasn’t the expected adventure, I think it was better.

2.  Always bring plenty of snacks and water.  Grumpiness can set in quickly and luckily I was given a banana to hold me over!

3.  Gain a new View~

I don’t have any of my own offspring, so maybe that’s why I thought it was great to view this park from a 5 year olds perspective.  It gave me a new view and I truly enjoyed it.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Vincenti
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 15:24:41

    I’ve spent the night out there in the ranger housing by the lighthouse. Talk about windy! Haven’t been back out to see the lighthouse in years and years. I think I need to make the trek again soon.


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