This weekend we had planned to go south to hit up a skate park and hang out at the beach, but since Trey ate it on his skateboard last week and tore his hands up pretty bad, we decided to opt for some hiking along the beach in Point Reyes instead, sans-hands.
A vole! ^
Dairy cows! ^
Jack, what are you doing up there? ^
My first experience with Point Reyes was when I was working for a veterinary clinic that specialized in treating sick and injured marine mammals, mostly seals and sea lions, several years back. This particular year hundreds of seals and sea lions began stranding themselves along the California coast, disoriented and having seizures on the beach. The influx was caused by the seals and sea lions eating prey laden with domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by phytoplankton which impairs brain function and causes seizures in marine mammals when ingested in large quantities. The facility quickly became filled to capacity with hundreds of young pups and adults that showed signs of the illness, and we worked around the clock to get the recovered animals back to sea. One day I was tasked with loading up two rehabilitated California sea lions and a northern elephant seal pup into the back of a pick-up truck and making the hour and a half long trek up the coast to release them at a protected area, Drakes Beach, in Point Reyes. The beach is a popular haul-out and rookery for seals during certain parts of the year, making for a good place to introduce the animals back into the wild (pic below). We backed the truck down onto the beach and unloaded the animals, watching them make a beeline for the tide and swim off into the waves. I came home that day and told Trey all about it. It was some of the prettiest land I’d ever seen and convinced him we had to go back. We’ve visited there a lot since then, sometimes to walk on the beach, other times to whale watch from the cliffs high above the ocean, and sometimes just to get away from the urban sprawl of the city.
This weekend we put Jack in the back of the car and set out towards Point Reyes, stopping at a cute little place called The Garage in Fairfax to look at some local made goods, then driving further north through the redwoods. We got to the quaint town of Inverness and stopped to have some lunch. There’s always a crowd of people getting lunch at the little town strip, but we like to skip the lines and head to a deli/grocery store a little further down the road. There’s never a wait, the sandwiches are on par and there’s always an open picnic table outside to sit and eat. We got to Point Reyes with nothing on the agenda. It was the kind of day where you take your shoes off and have no real plans except sitting in the sand and throwing drift wood for your dog to chase. Jack had a blast running down the beach and up the dunes. He smiles all the time, everyone says. He’s technically panting most of the time, but when he’s out there chasing sticks and running around and he looks up at you with his mouth hanging wide open, it’s hard not to think he’s flashing a big ol’ smile our way.
Which in turn makes us smile, in the best kind of way.