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Point Reyes, New Year's Eve (2004) and Day (2005)

Everyone gave me shit!  My brother ("Take care of your wife, she sounds sick!"), Emily's sous-chef ("If she gets sick, you are coming in to work to replace her!"), my parents, and anyone else who heard about our plan.  They would say "You're going camping in Point Reyes... in the rain?".  In fact, it was so bad that as we were driving to the Marin Headlands, after Emily had worked for 10-1/2 hours straight at Chez Panisse, she was talking to her parents on her cell phone and told them that we had a quiet night at home planned.

However, I was prepared (famous last words) and everything worked out splendidly.  We had no mishaps during the 3-mile ride to the campsite and were able to set up the tent and cook dinner under a starry sky.  And as it turns out we had the entire area to ourselves.  This was not entirely unexpected since when Emily picked our permit out of the box at the Bear Valley Visitor Center she had to sort through 8 other permits before finding ours.  Not long after settling into the tent with full bellies, a thermos of hot tea, and good books it began to pour, and did so on and off for the rest of the night.  But we were warm and dry and remained so for the entire night; snug as a bug in a rug.  

The following morning we made a hot breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar under partially blue skies and then struck camp.  After a short trip up to the ridge to view the ocean we went on short loop hike, following the Coast Trail south to Sculptured Beach and then north along the beach back to the campsite.  During this time we were rained on, saw spectacular double-rainbows, plunged into the ocean (at least one of us), ate Miners lettuce (same one that went into the ocean), saw elk, and rescued a starfish; all before 10:00 am.

Back at the campsite, we found our bikes and gear where we had left them and then rode back to car.  Just as we were getting into the car, the skies opened and it began to pour, the hardest rain during the waking hours of our trip.

It was a 3-mile ride from the parking lot to the campsite with only our 3-bulb LED headlamps lighting the way.  It was not raining though, and we arrived without incident.
A glorious morning rings in the New Year.  It rained on and off all night, at times very hard, but we stayed warm and dry or I wouldn't be looking so cheery.

 

We had many visitors at camp:  little birds, quail and fallow deer.  When we arrived the night before our headlamps illuminated at least 10 pairs of glowing "orange" eyes.  At the time we were not sure who the eyes belonged to... spooky!

 

Emily contemplates flying on the bluff 60 feet above the beach.  This photo is taken looking north with the campsite (not visible) to the right in a grassy, sheltered valley.

 

After a hot breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar we set off with a thermos of hot chocolate on a walk to Sculptured Beach via the Coast Trail and then back to the campsite along the beach.  At times we were rained on but with rainbows like this, a double-rainbow in fact, we hardly noticed.

 

This is the same double-rainbow as the previous picture.  It was so close to us that it didn't fit in a single picture.  It was so beautiful and so fleeting.  One minute after this picture was taken, the rainbow faded and disappeared.

 

Elk!  In our previous trips to Point Reyes we saw many animals (deer, fearless rabbits, raccoons, hawks, etc.) but this was the first time we found elk.

 

And now, while walking north on the pristine beach, Emily hopes to find the pot of gold behind the rocks.  Although visitors to the beach do not litter, the beaches in this area suffer from a certain amount of trash due to ocean transport.

 

I proclaim this to be the land of the luke-warm hot chocolate.  The spit of land at the far left of the picture is the home of the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

 

No caption is required.  I wanted Emily to give me a hug, not take a picture.

 

The original plan was to have a bonfire on the beach and go into the water at midnight.  However, the rain changed the plans and I wasn't able to go into the sea until the following day.  After my plunge I attempted to clean copious amounts of seaweed from my crevasses (crevices) in a stream while Emily looked on and laughed.

 

Emily spotted this starfish among the rocks an flung it back into the ocean.

 

With unsettled skies we ride back to the car, Em with a bulky but light backpack and me with all of the heavy items in the panniers.  After Emily was in the car and I was just finishing putting the bikes on the rack it began to pour, easily the hardest rain we encountered during the waking hours of this trip.

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