Monday, 19 December 2011

Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands (17th and 18th)

With the best of intentions to get up early and walk along the spit our morning plans went awry. The previous evening two Canadian hitch-hikers had arrived at the hostel and when they weren't singing were trying to find a ride on to Portland. We decided we could take them to the main road after our spit walk. They got a better offer though from the mysterious Brian who had also appeared at the hostel that evening. He was driving to Bandon, Oregon which would get them most of the way. Having arranged to leave with Brian around nine they were getting ready only to discover that he'd returned his sheets, asked a few questions and went on his way an hour earlier. Some discussion followed as to whether he'd purposely 'forgotten' the Canadian girls or had really just forgotten them. Without much chance of getting to the highway for a few hours we offered to take them and forget our walk. Kate who works at the hostel was right when she said we wouldn't need to turn the radio on with them in the car, they started singing almost straight away!

The rest of the day was spent driving, trying to walk but deciding not to because there were too many horses (too much like a normal day down Harcombe Road), driving to the South of Point Reyes and going for a short coastal walk (it's hard to keep going when you know you just have to go back the way you came, have they heard of circular walks?), driving past a few arrays of photovoltaic panels, listening to Christmas music (or American Christmas music which isn't proper Christmas music at all), visiting the hippie ville of the area- Bolinas (had a BC island feel to it), walking at Stinson Beach which according to a guidebook 'can't fail to impress' (well it did), winding round the bendy road along the coast, stopping at lookouts to take pictures, stopping at lookouts to let cars past, looking at what may or may not be 'the longest row of mailboxes in the States, trying to find a way not to go on the freeway, failing to find a way not to go on the freeway and you've guessed it- finally driving on the freeway.

Our day at the Marin headlands began with an early start to watch the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge from the lighthouse. Unfortunately the lighthouse and the path to it was closed so we just had to content ourselves with watching the sunrise from the car-park. The sunrise did not manage to fully justify the 6.15a.m. start. Most intriguing was this luminous or certainly unnatural looking green fibre plastered on the soil along most of the roadside. It was bright blue on the underside, but we later learned from the park ranger that this is a native seed, grass and fertiliser mix that has been sprayed from a truck where the grass has been disturbed.

After our unsuccessful lighthouse trip we took a walk to the marine mammal center and went on a 'docent' (they seem to have an obsession with this word here) led tour of the facility, which was interesting. There weren't many patients though, just seven sealions and two fur seal pups. They had a variety of maladies and the fur seals weren't eating. One of the sealions has some condition they know very little about with air bubbles in it's brain. The facility is in part powered (only about 15%) by photovoltaic panels above the cages, which also provide shade for the animals. Production was at 3.3 kW on this overcast day.

The rest of the day was spent in a desperate search for my wallet, searching through all our bags and all nooks and crannies. I did finally find it though wrapped inside the towel from the hostel. Now I just better not lose it again!

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