You Mon Tsang March 29th, 2009
Many outdoor adventures friends of mine slow down a bit when they have kids. And they don’t get to places like Point Reyes as often. But they’re missing out. There’s a lot to do here with kids; I’ve taken my child all around the peninsula. Yes, long hikes and mountain biking don’t work so well, but beaches and kayaks do. Every kid is different so you’ll have to make your own choices, but here are some adventures for your family to consider:
Bear Valley Visitor’s Center
- Charming indoor exhibit (with movie) that could distract children for 30-60 minutes. Gift shop warning…
- By the visitor’s center is the Earthquake Trail, which is flat and less than a mile but is very cool for learning about the 1906 earthquake
- The Kule Loklo trail (~1 mile) that takes you to a replica Coast Miwok Native American village.
- Drake’s Beach has a small visitor’s center with an tiny exhibit as well as a cafe you can hang out if you need a break or a bite. The beach is also pretty fun to walk down.
- My favorite ocean beach for kids is Limantour, where the waves are less intense and the sand very soft.
- If you want a warmer and less intense Tomales Bay beach, try Hearts Desire Beach, which is cozy, gentle and charming
- For tide pooling, I go to Agate Beach in Bolinas. I’ve had mixed luck, but when it’s good, it’s hours of fun. Check for low tides on our weather page.
- Elephants seals are a big favorite (winters at Chimey Rock)
- Whales require so much patience that I don’t take most adults, much less children
- The tule elk are pretty cool; you can often see them from the car and at Pierce Point, where they reside, there is a cool old ranch that kids can explore
- On warm spring and summer days, Audubon Canyon Ranch (near Bolinas) offers short hikes, cool overviews, bright white birds and a pond full of newts and tadpoles
Point Reyes Lighthouse
- The lighthouse is great and the 300+ steps are challenging for the kids but doable. My kid did it by himself at 6. I carried him when he was two. Wind and fog can make this trip a real adventure! Call the ranger station there ahead of time to ask about conditions: (415) 669-1534
- On calm days, Tomales Bay is an easy kayak trip. Pack water and a good picnic and head for a beach to stretch your legs. Check the lodging and resources page for links to local kayak rentals.
I’ve had luck with kid food in Point Reyes here:
- Pine Cone Diner (diner)
- Cafe Reyes (pizza and Mexican)
- Tony’s Seafood (on way to Marshall)
- Station Cafe
I will update this post with any of your suggestions. So please suggest away…
You Mon Tsang March 28th, 2009
Appearing in tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times will be a short essay by Verlyn Klinkenborg, American non-fiction author and a member of the editorial board of The New York Times. He uses the ebb and flow of the Tomales Bay tides and local wildlife to help writers and the rest of us to break free of a strict linear chronology.
The water is constantly catching me by surprise. I look, and there’s a bright, wind-tugged sheet of it from here to Inverness. I look again, and the light adheres strictly to the creek channel, eeling its way across the darkness… I consult a tide chart and note that the tide is ebbing, but I’m not experienced enough to feel it. The best I can do is see where the water is now, and then where it is an hour from now. It’s like having to look repeatedly at the sun to guess its direction across the sky.
I always tell my writing students to avoid chronology, because we live utterly in the thick of it. We need no reminding how it works. But that’s what I love about watching these flats. They undermine my landlocked sense of chronology.
You can read the whole essay here…
You Mon Tsang March 27th, 2009
rod&reel Originally uploaded by helti
Twice a year, anyone can fish without a license in California. It’s an easy and hassle-free way to give fishing a try. This year, the days are July 4 and Sept 7.
From the CA Dept of Fish and Game web site:
The Department of Fish and Game offers two Free Fishing Days each year. On these days, you can fish without having to buy a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days provide a great, low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some Department offices offer a Fishing in the City program where you can go fishing in the middle of major metropolitan areas, perhaps just a few blocks from your home. Fishing in the City and free fishing day clinics are designed to educate people just like you about fish habits, proven methods of catching fish, and tackle you’ll need. You can even learn how to clean and prepare your catch so you can enjoy it for dinner that night.
More at the CA Department of Fish & Game.
You Mon Tsang March 25th, 2009
UPDATED (4/7/09): The 2009 schedule has been set. The market will open on June 27, 2009 and end on November 7. I will update this post as more specific information arrives.
In the meantime, check out the 2008 Point Reyes Farmers Market Schedule to get a taste of what’s in store for 2009.
You Mon Tsang March 25th, 2009
What’s happening in the park in late March 2009.
- Sounds like whale watching can be real hit or miss: “one day 5-10 per hour – the next day fog and wind and no whales to been seen! On calm days, excellent viewing from the Lighthouse area but with recent winds and fogs, numbers have been low. They will continue northward throughout April.”
- Look for large displays of purple Douglas Iris at the Estero Trail head, spikes of creamy yellow ‘Red Elderberry’ along the roadsides, Chocolate Lilies (fritillaries) at the Peter Behr Overlook at Drakes Beach, and tiny lavender Ceanothus blooms are bursting on these dark green shrubs.
These are highlights from the National Park Service Park Wavelengths newsletter.
You Mon Tsang March 18th, 2009
This photo was taken by long-time friend of Point Reyes, Terrie of permie.net. She said that these wildflowers were “along the trail at Point Reyes Bird Observatory’s Palomarin field station. Nice little trail there. “
You Mon Tsang March 10th, 2009
What’s happening in the park in early March 2009.
Northern migrating gray whales are moving past the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock in large numbers – up to 10 an hour seen over the weekend days helped by the warm calm weather.
Elephant seal numbers continue to decline though a large bull parked himself in front of the visitor center at Drakes Beach much of Saturday afternoon. Females have begun returning to feeding areas near Hawaii and males to feeding areas near Alaska. The weaned pups linger on though early summer.
A public information session on the Abbots Lagoon Dune Restoration project is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 6:30 in the Red Barn Classroom.
A new photography show at Bear Valley Visitor Center of wildlife images from the park by Galen Leeds is up through April.
These are highlights from the National Park Service Park Wavelengths newsletter:
You Mon Tsang March 8th, 2009
I am a big fan of the Audubon Canyon Ranch at Bolinas, CA. It’s a peaceful place, where visitors can view the nesting sites of the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and the Snowy Egret. Kids also love the ponds full of wildlife.
For the 2009 season, the 1,000-acre Bolinas Lagoon Preserve will open from March 14 to July 12, 2009, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Weekday access is available by appointment.
Admission to the preserve is free, though a suggested donation of $15 is appreciated.
See a previous story of a visit to Audubon Canyon Ranch
Photos by Michael Harrold