Saturday, February 26, 2011

Point Reyes, Gray Whales, And The SAF

When the going gets tough and the federal government is about to shut down, the geologically sharp-eyed tough decide they have had enough!  Where do these tough go?  They go to a national park! 

 This is probably not the most enlightened choice I have ever made (and I've made some doozies), particularly during these times of fiscal stress and congressional chaos.  I have no idea whether the park will remain open for the duration of my intended week's stay.  Nevertheless, I have been wanting to go to Point Reyes National Seashore for years, and the opportunity has finally presented itself.  Basically, I said to myself "Self!  Time is a-wasting and you are not getting any younger.  Just do it!"

So... weather and road conditions permitting (the recent storm having passed on to some other unsuspecting area, I can locate the appropriate highway out of my snow-swathed neighborhood, the mountain passes in Nevada and the Sierras are clear enough to plow through with my trusty Subaru) I will take off from home this Monday 2/28, drive approximately 440 miles to Reno NV ("The Biggest Little City in the World!") and stay my first night on the road at one of their fine gambling establishments (you cannot beat a room in a high-rise casino for $22/night!  As my mother used to say - "We're just going to sleep there, we're not going to buy the place.").

I have road maps galore (Thanks, AAA!) but sadly no geological maps of Nevada or California.  If I had been really organized and thought that far ahead I might have been able to purchase online from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology or I could have perused the California Geological Survey website for something suitably enthralling.

Not to worry!  The Park website has oodles of information about the San Andreas Fault which runs right near (practically through) the Bear Valley Visitor Center and up the coast through Point Reyes.  I also found a nifty field guide on the internet (which I will cite at a later date) which describes the Franciscan Complex at Shell Beach.  

In addition to all this geology, the gray whales are in the midst of their 10,000-mile round-trip migration past the Point which extends 10 miles out into the Pacific Ocean and affords some of the best whale-watching spots on the coast.  You can be sure I'll be checking out some ranger-led programs while I am there!


  1. Depending on how you're getting to Reno, I have some posts on roadside geology on my blog, especially for Highway 50 (Nevada). Just search that tag. Hope it's a great trip!

  2. All right, time for road trips! I haven't been to Pt Reyes in...way too many years. Look forward to seeing it again through your geologic eyes. Maybe a quick stop at the local library before heading out Mon.

    I'll be leaving Tues for about a month, heading to S TX. Hope to keep track of posts along the way.

    Have a great time!!! Hope the gov doesn't close us out of our parks as Casa Grande, Big Bend, Padre Island and maybe more are on my list.

  3. Silver Fox - Thanks for the reminder - I will check that out! The plan is to get on hwy 50 east of Ely and stay on it til I get to I-80. I'll wave as I go through Austin! I just hope the mountain passes are clear and will check NV DOT today.

    Gaelyn - I have never been to Point Reyes and am really excited about seeing it for the first time.
    When you get to Big Bend, ask for Christina R. - she was my cabin mate at Katmai.
    I look forward to traveling vicariously to south Texas! Have a great trip. I surely have enjoyed South Africa.