A Mt. Wittenberg

One happy weekend day, we decided to get up extra-early and make the drive over to Pt. Reyes National Seashore to hike the tallest place in west Marin, Mt. Wittenberg near Pt. Reyes Station.

The Hike

The foggy morning made us wonder whether or not we had picked the wrong day. We went up pretty straight from the parking lot to the summit of Mt. Wittenberg following the Mt. Wittenberg trail (the map at left is an excerpt from the excellent Park Service map available online). The top of Mt. Wittenberg is in the middle of a wooded area, so it didn't rate any pictures. There, the discussion ensued -- whether to take the short way down via the Bear Valley trail (the thick black line out the bottom of the map), or go for the big prize and hike out to the coast. Dave Fickes' memories of idylls along the coast eventually won out, and we headed down the Woodworth Valley Trail to the coast.
The trail was gorgeous, if a bit overgrown (I'm extremely allergic to poison oak, and thus overgrown trails in Northern California are a terror for me). The sun was streaming down through the mature Douglas Fir stands at this point along the trail, and it was a glorious morning.

Sculptured Beach

Look! There!

Eventually, we got down near the coast at the area called Sculptured Beach. Dan Lyke figures it's off to the right somewhere, and checks

No, there!
Down at the Sea Yup, that's the ocean all right. These are some of the nicest shots I've coaxed out of my digital camera. Down at the Sea 2
Bird Rock The day had really opened up at this point, and we were seeing the West Marin coast in all it's glory. We even managed to sneak out a hard-with-digital grass-in-the-foreground shot! For a good map of where we were and how we got there, check the National Park Service site for Point Reyes National Seashore. Looking to Sea


There are the rare white deer along the Marin coast in several places, most notably the north end of the west side of Tomales Bay. Even though we were quite a ways south of there, we ran into a couple warily feeding high on the bluffs along the Coast Trail that heads southeast from Sculptured Beach to Arch Rock. A rare White Deer
The deer in the rest of the National Seashore, by the way, were a lot less wary. I came upon this pair of fawns feeding the grass a couple feet off of the main Bear Valley trail. Although they stood still, they were really too concerned about either me, or the 3-4 other folks who came up a few minutes later. Close-up of a deer 1
Even when I moved in for a really close shot. I'm not sure if it's a good thing that the deer are so used to us they let us get this close nowadays... A really close-up shot of a deer

Arch Rock

The group on the bluff Eventually, we arrived at the justly famous outlet of the Bear Valley Trail at Arch Rock. Here's the group admiring our newfound location (L to R): Dan Lyke, Phil Beffrey, Dave Fickes, and Bill Polson. In the next picture, we look to the north from Arch Rock. The rocks and the sea
We then climbed down the rocky trail that leads to the beach through this little cleft (this was offscreen right in the above picture). The inlet at Arch Rock Considerable careful climbing was required, but sure-footed former river guide Dan shamed us with his speed. In the last picture, Jeff and Phil head on down.
Dan and the Rocks Phil and Jeff come on down
Under Arch Rock, side And finally, we get to see why they call it Arch Rock (this is under where the group is standing in the group shot up above). It's a truly spectacular point. Under Arch Rock, right
Looking southwards After admiring the underside of the rock some more, we climbed back up on the top and looked off south towards Bolinas (which you can't see from here, the coast curves off to the left). The day had started misting over a bit, although it cleared up again later. Looking southward, mist


Bus + Bus = ?
Back home near Lucas Valley Rd., we came upon this distinctly non-Marin-coast sight: an old bus with a VW Microbus glued onto the top. We could only assume we had entered the land of Burning Man preparation at this point...