Sunday, 28 February 2009:
Eager to take advantage of a break in a series of welcome storms, Sarah & I headed to Point Reyes, and after a tasty breakfast at the Pine Cone Diner, we decided to hike the Bull Point Trail, one of few trails we have not yet hiked in this area.
10’ish miles down the road to the lighthouse, we came to the trailhead and started hiking at 11:30 under partly overcast skies.
Bull Point Trail
Cows grazed contentedly all around us; unlike hikes we’ve done in grazing areas in the east bay, these bovines were completely unconcerned with our presence, slowly moving out of our way as we approached.
An “Oreo” cow (thanks to SFKnitter on Flickr for the name!)
Turkey Vultures circled overhead, as they usually do in this region, and sparrows, mostly Song, with a couple of Savannah, chirped and flitted about in the brush.
Bull Point Trail
The “trail,” really more of a double-track rancher’s road, was close to pancake-flat, and we quickly make our way toward the waters of Drake’s Bay. A Northern Harrier flew low over the brush, then out of view, and American Crows hung around the cows.
A handsome Say’s Phoebe perched briefly on a bush before putting some distance between itself and us, and a single Common Merganser mingled with the American Coots and Canada Geese in the waters of the bay, just barely discernible through our binoculars.
Before too long we arrived at the trail’s end, a small beach with a half-dozen American Wigeons, who were none too pleased at our arrival. In the waters, many Western Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, Scaups, and a few Bufflehead and Eared Grebes floated placidly.
Drake’s Bay at Bull Point
We walked along the short beach, just a few hundred yards long, enjoying the lapping waters of the bay, and the views of Drake’s Head to our left, and the south tip of Point Reyes to our right.
After taking in our fill of the pretty surroundings, we headed back towards the trailhead. Another couple of hikers arrived as we left – they would be the only people we’d see on this hike.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the early bounty of wildflowers on the previous weekend’s hike, there was nearly nothing blooming here. A Rosy Sandcrocus here, a couple of early Blue-eyed Grass there, a lone Pale Flax. Only the California Blackberries and Beach Strawberries were really evident.
Cows grazed and nursed, then grazed some more, as is their wont. The animals here are all dairy, much of the milk produced going to the Clover company, at least according to the signs attached to the dozen or so working dairy farms on the point.
Green and blue hiking
The skies blued up a bit, providing for some nice blue-and-green landscaping.
There were a good many calves, most skittish than their elders, and very cute.
Bull Point Trail
Finally, at 1:40, we arrived back at the car and headed out. We decided to take the scenic way back, heading north on Hwy 1, in search of somewhere to get chowder.
Yummy chowder indeed
In Marshall, we found our place, The Marshall Store, a funky little restaurant and snack shop selling raw, smoked, and BBQ oysters (harvested from the waters of the bay on which the restaurant sits), as well as clam chowder and a few other dishes.
3 down, 3 to go!
I love oysters and was more than happy to order a half dozen. They were easily the freshest, most tasty oysters I have ever had. Firm, yet yielding, briny and sharp. I could easily have eaten another dozen! Their clam chowder was also very good, and Sarah & I quite enjoyed sitting at a spindle on their deck, looking out over the waters of Tomales Bay.
A Pacific Loon and several Western Gulls swam in the waters, the gull chasing the oyster shells thrown into the waters. A patchwork of sun-bleached shells on the shore and just into the water belied a tradition of shell-tossing going back quite some time.
The Marshall Store
We left, reluctantly, but happy to have found a new favorite place for oysters & chowder in the area, and enjoyed a pretty drive east to Petaluma before the considerably busier and less-pretty final leg home on Hwy 101.
A lovely day overall to be sure. Bull Point would not be, by any means, my first suggestion for hiking to someone new to the area, but it was pleasant, and secluded, and our post-hike meal in Marshall was highly satisfying indeed!
Climbing: 557′ (seems high)
Hiking time: 1h 45m
Stopped time: 23m
|Birds seen:||Wildflowers seen:|
Location: Pt. Reyes - Outer Observation date: 2/28/09 Number of species: 25 Canada Goose - Branta canadensis 5 American Wigeon - Anas americana 8 Greater/Lesser Scaup - Aythya marila/affinis 10 Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola 6 + Common Merganser - Mergus merganser 1 Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis 5 + Pacific Loon - Gavia pacifica 2 + Eared Grebe - Podiceps nigricollis 5 Western Grebe - Aechmophorus occidentalis 25 Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus 15 Great Egret - Ardea alba 3 Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura 15 + Northern Harrier - Circus cyaneus 2 + Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus 1 Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis 1 American Kestrel - Falco sparverius 3 Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus 2 Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 3 + Say's Phoebe - Sayornis saya 2 American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos 7 + Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis 5 Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 1 White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys 2 + Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus 1 Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus 40 + = year bird (58 to date) This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
- California Blackberry - Beach Strawberry - Rosy Sandcrocus - Pale Flax - Blue-eyed Grass - Redmaids - Doves-foot Geranium - Aster sp.