Saturday we drove up to Point Reyes (was in San Francisco for Friday’s Giants game) National Seashore to see the lighthouse. It was an absolutely beautiful drive…probably not a good road for those that get car sick though. Many historic (1850’s) cattle ranches and dairy farms dot the coastal grasslands.
Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Weeks of fog, especially during the summer months, frequently reduce visibility to hundreds of feet. The Point Reyes Headlands, which jut 10 miles out to sea, pose a threat to each ship entering or leaving San Francisco Bay. The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse warned mariners of danger for more than a hundred years.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse, built in 1870, was retired from service in 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light. They then transferred ownership of the lighthouse to the National Park Service, which has taken on the job of preserving this fine specimen of our heritage.
The lighthouse parking lot is at the end of the road…which was PACKED! So we found a roadside parking spot back down the road and walked to the lighthouse visitor center which was about a 1/2 mile uphill hike from the parking lot.
The whale migration was still ongoing at the time, so the observation deck, at the visitor center, had binoculars and identification guides available. There was a sighting of a mama and her calf. The deck was also a place for the smart people to wait while the rest of us hiked down over 300 feet to the Lighthouse…over 308 steps (they did not count the part of the trail that was a steep ramp with no steps). They said it’s the equivalent of walking down and up a 30 story building.