Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Chimney Rock - Pt. Reyes Cont.

As I mentioned before, our first trip to the ocean was to the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. After checking out the lighthouse, we decided to hike, picnic and explore an area of the park called Chimney Rock. First, we hiked down by the bay to an area called Elephant Rock. Theoretically, we might have seen elephant seals on the beach there but it was empty. However, we made good use of the picnic tables.

We should thank Dr. Jim Maddux for the scrumptious supplies we had with us for the picnic. On our way out to the coast, by chance, we happened to drive by a place Cam's dad had told him we must go. So we stopped at The Cheese Factory of The Marin French Cheese Company to "discover the cheeses of Rouge et Noir." We stopped picked up some wonderful cheese spreads, some crackers, olives and juices. They really hit the spot and made the perfect meal for our hiking day.

After the picnic, we hiked up to the top of the cliff. We walked to the lookout and stared in awe for awhile at the crashing waves, pelicans, glorious sky and surf. Then, rather than just walk back the way we'd come, we decided to hike along the top of the cliff for awhile on these tiny trails you can see just in front of Cam. It felt like we were on top of the world.

We weren't really sure where these trails led and if they would take us in a loop back to our car or if we would have to backtrack but it was such a nice hike, we didn't really care either way.

We rounded a corner in the trail and just as we realized we were heading back where we needed to be and were almost done walking, we looked down into this cove and saw sea elephant seals snoozing. You can hardly see them in the picture on the left but they were there, just lying on the beach, probably about 10 of them. They look dead but we are pretty sure they were just soaking up the sun. We sat on top of the cove and just watched them and soaked the whole experience in for awhile. Cam said he didn't think he had even seen more beautiful scenery and that he could understand why I felt drawn to the area.

After awhile, we decided to head out. On the last leg of our hike, this woman stopped us to ask if we'd see the great horned owl. We hadn't. She led us back 20 yards or so and pointed into a grove of trees. We saw this impressive, large, shadowy form that she was pretty sure was a great horned owl. It was cool, literally and figuratively. Deceptively cool. The next day, I was so sunburned; I huddled under blankets on the couch for most of the day. Cam thinks I may have actually gotten sun poison. Memorable day. Memorable lesson to wear sunscreen.

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