Today is the final day we will spend visiting the area of this iconic modern city. We took the van to drive north. After crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge we drove past the town of Saucalito. A mile later we got off the freeway and drove on historic US 101. Our main destination was Point Reyes National Seashore. Along the way our way we took a short detour to visit Muir Woods National Monument.
Muir Woods is a small hidden area where there is a high concentration of redwoods. None of them are very large in diameter, but there is a concentrated number of them growing along a babbling brook running through the center of the grove. There is a beautiful pathway for one to enjoy taking a leisurely walk. In many ways it's like walking through a huge cathedral. Instead of one built of stone, it's formed by an array of trees, twisting upwards and surrounded with ferns. The way to enjoy this unique sanctuary is to walk slowly along the path and listen to the breeze swaying through the forest. It's a place that allows you to enjoy nature and hear the sounds of the forest. It's the perfect place to sit back in a nice quiet seat and contemplate the power of nature.
We were sad to leave and we continued our drive on the curvy road. As we were approaching the coastline there were areas where one moment you were in fog and in the next curve it was clear blue skies. Overall, the weather was in our favor. It was in the mid 60s so it was a very pleasant and scenic drive.
We stopped at multiple viewing sites along the road. The driving is normally slow since the road is continually twisting and turning. Thus it's a continual leisurely drive.
We finally reached the Oyster Bay estuary, which is near the entrance of Point Reyes. Roadside signs publicize the availability of fresh oysters. These signs made me remember my father. He loved to eat them. Personally, I have eaten them, but I am not thrilled with them. I prefer to eat Pacific Ocean mussels, which are larger, meatier and have a richer taste.
We past the picturesque estuary area and entered an area where there are several open prairie dairy cow ranches. The ranches were established before the area was converted to a recreational area, thus they could not be removed.
We continued our drive until we reached the parking area at Point Reyes. At this site there is a large lighthouse and the view of the coastline from this spot is spectacular. The lighthouse is no longer in service and now serves as a museum. One has to walk down a cliff of approximately 300 steps to actually reach the lighthouse. It's worth the climb. One walks slowly while taking in the spectacular views from the cliff. Near the area one can see small cement bunkers that were used as lookouts for possible Japanese naval activity during WW II. There were many along the coast from San Francisco which was, and is, an important Pacific naval base.
Along the pathway one can view at a distance the Gulf of the Farallones, which hosts one of the largest populations of white sharks in the world! It's not surprising since there are high concentrations of elephant and harbor seals throughout the area. I understand that this does not deter some persons from going surfing and kayaking around here. I don't know about them, but it would definitely discourage me.
We were lucky with the wonderful weather in the area. The fog was minimal and it would dissipate and open up for moments. The many distinct and colorful views were found in all directions.
By late afternoon, had discussed the option of stopping to eat along the road or simply waiting until we returned to The city and eat a wonderful dinner on our last day in San Francisco.
Tomorrow we start our trip driving southward and toward home. We have been on this road trip for 10-days. It will be two more days before we complete this journey.