McClure’s Beach and Tule Elk with Michael – 1st October 2018

We were greeted along our path down to McClure’s beach by a Banded Woolly Bear Cat (erpillar) munching on some plantain leaves. We’ve seen these furry cats a number of times along our trails and they never disappoint. At the end of the description in this link there’s a Fun Fact: “Farmers used to think the amount of orange on the caterpillar predicted the length of the coming winter. Legend has it that a wide band indicated a mild winter, whereas a narrow band predicted a harsh one.”

Here’s a short vimeo video of our hike on October 1st.

The music is from Claude Debussy’s “Children’s Corner Suite, Golliwog’s Cakewalk” played by the pianist Francois-Joel Thiollier. It was first published and performed in 1908. The suite for solo piano “is dedicated to his daughter, Claude-Emma (known as “Chou-Chou”), who was three years old at the time”. – from the YouTube description

David McClure’s mother was Margaret who donated McClure’s Beach to Marin County in 1946 in exchange for the county maintaining the road to their ranch on Pierce Point. David and his brother John operated the Pierce Point Ranch with Jim becoming a partner. The beach became a part of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in 1962. Jim McClure purchased “I Ranch” just down the road in 1939 and Ron partnered with him in this venture. Ron’s son Bob now runs the ranch and became a Clover Dairy producer in 1999 operating it as an organic farm today.
The McClure history on the Pt. Reyes peninsula is substantial starting with the arrival of James McClure, a carpenter who came over from Ireland in 1889. Anyone wanting to sort out the McClure’s genealogy would find a challenge as they went back to the “old sod” since the name has a variety of spellin i.e. McClure, McCluer, McClewer, Maclure, McLewer, McLure and McLuir.

The Pierce Point Ranch in the hills above McClure’s Beach.

Michael talked about our bipedal lives, “How come we stood up on two feet?”

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish –

Some of us climbed the hill at the end of the beach to check out the ocean view. Underlaying the Laird Sandstone is Salinian granite. Often you just get a snatch of this foundational material peeking out at the base of the sandstone cliffs at Pt. Reyes but at McClure’s and Kehoe Beaches the granitic broadcasting is loud and clear. We had the feeling that this was the very edge of the material that has been grinding between the two plates. For eons as the Pacific Plate passed the North American Plate going north, they have pounded and pulverized each other – rough stuff.

The venerable Jules Evans walked this area on his quest to hike and write about every trail at Point Reyes National Seashore in 2013.

We stopped by a Gumplant as we came back up the hill. Also called Gumweed perhaps the Gumplant title is less disparaging – a weed being anything that is planted in the wrong place. Reny Parker writes of the Gumplant (Grindelia stricta) of the Sunflower Family: ” . . this native is found on windswept coastal bluffs, dunes and scrub.
The immature ‘bud’ found atop the stem is covered in a distinct white gummy liquid that discourages the bud from being eaten. . . The gummy substance was used as
a topical skin lotion for poison oak by California Indians.” (Wildflowers of Californias North Coast Range, 2015)

The picnic at the Pierce Point Ranch had a kind of Thanksgiving quality.
After lunch, Michael talked about galls referring to a book he’d been given by the author, Ron Russo.

Michael giving us some history about the Tule Elk of Pt. Reyes with occasional bugling in the background: Bugling at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Bugling here at Pt. Reyes Pierce Ranch – Tomales Point Tule Elk Preserve From 2009
Dr. Natalie Gates who is interviewed in this video was selected as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui in 2013. Haleakala National Park is one of the oldest in the National Park System, established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916.

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