The rain moved back in shortly after I returned to camp, and heavy showers with strong winds persisted through the night. They’d gone by morning however, leaving only a wet tent and sloppy trail as a reminder of the misery that could have been. Instead, the day was bright and sunny with a freshness in the air, and despite my soggy shoes I had a pleasant two mile stroll back to the car. It’s amazing how a night in the backcountry can change your perspective on a place. Getting off the roads and away from the crowds, finding a place that allows you to sit quietly and contemplate all alone fosters a heightened sense of connection, a stronger understanding; and I was grateful for the chance to get to know Point Reyes in this way.
I spent the rest of the morning driving to different points along the seashore. Point Reyes is one of those places that is relatively small in area, but long in driving time from point to point. I went out to the elephant seal overlook, and onto the lighthouse (when I’d visited before, on a weekend, the only access to these points was by park shuttle that required a significant wait.) The elephant seal overlook was cool, but not nearly the size of colony or as up close and personal as that I had visited near Cambria. The stairway down to the lighthouse was closed due to gusty winds, but I stood for a bit with a group at the top scoping the sea for whales, to no avail.
From there, I drove around a little more, saw some deer and the parks famous herd of tule elk, and went down to walk along the beach I’d visited on my first stop. It was a much more relaxed and casual experience than the first time around, and while I could have found things to do along the seashore to last for days (… or weeks… or months) I was happy I’d come back and knew that I could leave this time without any regrets. So with that, I took a moment to savor the coastal warmth and one last breath of ocean air, then got in the car and started back east again.
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