Sunday Travels to Other Area Sights

Sunday did not go as well as Saturday. A light rain began Saturday evening, and continued through the night. The weather at breakfast time was not bad, however, giving us a false sense of encouragement.

As I mentioned, each morning at the inn, we were served a truly enormous breakfast. And each morning, we took full advantage of it, such that I was not hungry for lunch either day until 4:00 pm. Consequently, I was bound and determined that we should do something to work off our breakfast. After walking over 8 miles on Saturday, we had very little desire to use our legs or feet on Sunday. Anticipating this, we had decided to bring our canoe, the Weeble, and use our upper bodies on Sunday instead. The best laid plans...

One of the features of the Pt. Reyes peninsula is a hand-shaped estero, or estuary, on the south side. You can see it on this map. Ann Dwyer's Easy Waters of California said that Drake's Estero was sheltered from the wind and was very nice for muscle-powered boats. Wind is a major problem for canoes, which expose a high profile above the water (as opposed to kayaks). After our extremely hearty breakfast, we packed up our belongings, sadly said goodbye to our lovely inn, and drove to the launch point on Schooner Bay, the middle "finger" of the estero.

Here are some sandpipers on Schooner Bay.

When we arrived, we found the estero much windier than preferable, even though we were starting out about as far from the relatively open Drake's Bay as you could get. Eric was concerned about it. I was prepared to proceed in any case, but Eric looked at a sign and found a notice that said the estero was closed to all boats, including muscle-powered boats, from March 1 until June 30, for harbor seal pupping season. Now, I had known about harbor seal pupping season, but I thought it was later in the year. You would think, considering the fact that harbor seal pupping season comprises fully one-third of each year, that the guidebook might have mentioned it, would you not? If I were writing the guidebook... I inked it in on the page in large letters. I hope the harbor seal pupping is going well for all the moms and pups out there on Drake's Estero.

So there we were, with overstuffed stomachs, overtired legs, and a sign prohibiting us from carrying out our excellent plans. We had already canoed the obvious alternative, Tomales Bay, and wanted to see someplace new (and less windy). We studied the guidebook for alternatives and decided to canoe Keyes Creek, on the other side of Tomales Bay (outside of the park). It is not labeled on the map, but it is the creek running along the Tomales-Petaluma Road, eventually meeting up with Walker Creek. Once again, the guidebook promised shelter from the wind.

After a fair amount of driving (we would end up driving nearly 150 miles over the course of the weekend, without traveling terribly far from home), we arrived at a put-in point for Keyes Creek. We carried the Weeble a short distance down to the creek, and I'm proud to say that my ability to carry the 80-lb vehicle has greatly increased by doing aerial dance. We observed the water from the bank, and it paradoxically appeared to be moving eastward, and against the incoming tide and away from the ocean. Only wind could be blamed for this. We decided to set out heading "downstream," against the wind. The bank was steep, and there was a lot of instability in getting into the water. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but we got in without dunking ourselves, and set off into the wind.

We didn't get far (a couple of tenths of a mile, at most) before fighting the strong breeze took all the fun out of the journey. Furthermore, a light sprinkle was beginning to fall. Reluctantly, I agreed to turn around and return to the car. The sprinkle abated a bit, so we sat at a picnic table at the put-in point and ate our sandwiches. Of course, by the time I finished my food, the amount of rain had substantially increased, and we got quite wet putting the Weeble back on Pearl's roof.

Somehow, with all of this driving, it had become late afternoon without our having gotten much exercise at all. I had eaten my sandwich (and a cookie) without feeling particularly hungry for them and was now feeling incredibly overstuffed. Our legs had recovered a bit, so we decided to go back to the Bear Valley Visitor Center area and do some walking around there.

While it wasn't precisely raining, there was an enormous amount of moisture in the air, rendering the area chilly and clammy. We walked the interpretive earthquake trail and found an earth geocache. The Pt. Reyes peninsula runs directly over the San Andreas fault, and you can see a place where a fence was split 12 feet apart during the 1906 earthquake.

We made a bathroom stop, and when I came out, a woman with a clipboard was trying to recruit Eric for the Forest Service's firefighting crew. She said they were looking for people who loved nature so much that they would be out looking at it even in this miserable weather. I didn't have the heart to tell her that we were really just trying to work off our breakfasts, and would have been perfectly happy up in our cozy little treehouse room, in the comfy bathrobes they gave us, surfing the internet via satellite and enjoying nature through the protection of seven walls of cute little windows.

We still had a little time before dark, so we walked up to the nearby woodpecker grove. We did see some of the acorn woodpeckers, but not at a close enough distance to get a decent picture under the light conditions.

The most exciting wildlife we saw were these deer, who let us get reasonably close.

After that, we went off to find a geocache in nearby Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Eric took this neat picture of a crumbling bridge.

I admired the fog coming over the hills.

I was still feeling overstuffed and would have preferred to do more walking, but Eric wanted to call it a day and go home, so we headed back over the Bay. While Saturday had been thoroughly enjoyable, Sunday the weather just did not cooperate with us. I found myself feeling fortunate that our actual wedding anniversary is in July, when we can nearly always count on good weather here in California.

Last updated: 3/20/2009 by Eric and Beth Zuckerman