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Friday, June 8, 2007

Point Reyes: Bear Valley & Arch Rock

20070130 Boys Will Be Boys
Fallow Deer

Probably the most popular hiking trail at Point Reyes National Seashore is Bear Valley Trail down to Arch Rock. It's an easy 5.7-mile hike (according to the South District Trail Map, my hiking book says it is shorter), and the first 4.8 miles you can take via bicycle. To make it a little more interesting, I planned on a small loop at the end with a diversion on Glen Trail and Coastal Trail. My friend Erik joined me on this hike.

Bear Valley Trail climbs modestly to Divide Meadow (where there are pit toilets), then descends modestly down to the coast. At Big Meadow another hiker reported having seen a bobcat to us, but we weren't fortunate enough to spot him. We did, however, see many black-tailed deer from Big Meadow on.

Rather than go to the end of the trail, we took a left onto Glen Trail, which gave us some climbing to do. It turned out to be well worth it, because as we descended on to the Coast Trail, we saw the stags in the photo at the top of this entry. Both are the same species of nonnative fallow deer.

Then we reached Arch Rock, meeting up with the end of Bear Valley Trail. Officially, the park service says there is no beach access at Arch Rock. I found that out from the website after I got home. Erik and I went ahead and climbed down to the beach here.

First that meant crossing a creek. Erik chose to rock hop it, and, as always on our hikes, I chose to photograph him in the process. It's one of my favorite photography subjects.

20070130 Erik Rock Hopping

I chose another spot and leapt across the creek. But that wasn't the end of it. Then we had to carefully crawl down a rock formation. Erik got a nice shot of Arch Rock from the top of that outcropping.

On the south side of Arch Rock we found some tidal pools. After photographing their inhabitants, we headed north along Kellham Beach.

20070130 Giant Green Anemones

We ran into another hiker there who told us about an elephant seal up ahead. He was afraid that it was ill or injured. As he did, we kept our distance so as not to put stress on the magnificent creature. Luckily my camera has 10X zoom.

20070130 Elephant Seal

Rather than return on the beach to Arch Rock, we found a small use trail at the north end of Kellham Beach that led up to an old ranch site on Coastal Trail. You can tell it by the eucalyptus tree (so popular at ranches in the area) and the debris. We took Coastal Trail south back to Bear Valley Trail, and then Bear Valley Trail all the way back to the car. On the way back, we had the odd experience of being passed by an ambulance.

Hike Report

Date: 30 January 2007
Trail head: Bear Valley
Approximate Distance: 14.2 miles
Map: South District Trail Map

2 comments:

Bud said...

Interesting account. I especially liked the part about hiking down to the beach where there is no beach access.

dwylbtzle said...

Wow!
That is SO weird you mention the bobcat, in Devide Meadow. I have hiked that trail a few times, and I once, also, saw a fat sassy bobcat sunning himself in that meadow--but that was years ago.
Probably the only time i've ever actually laid eyes upon one, in the wild.
I've heard them zillions of times, in the night, but they rarely let you see them!
he was all stripey with his camo--like a tabby cat--and he looked like he woulda come up to my knee, sitting upright
probaby weighed about 25 pounds.
I don't quite know what you mean by "no beach access". As I remember, we just climbed down thru the rocks to get to the water.
Maybe we weren't supposed to.
Ooops!
he heee heeee!

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About Me

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I love to learn about, visit, photograph, research, and write about everything that is interesting, unique, and historical about Northern California, and wherever else I should be fortunate enough to find myself.  I've spent many years scouring the roadside in my little car for interesting subjects and walking down hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada and along the coast to get to know the wonder that is Northern California.  I share most of this via photos on Flickr, and as much as time permits me to on my blog, the NorCal Explorer.  Fine art prints of my photos are for sale on Imagekind.