The Estero Trail at Pt. Reyes National Seashore is one of Michael’s favorite hikes and we could see why. Rolling golden hills meet the blue waters of Drake’s Estero in the quietness of nature all under a sunny blue sky and for extra measure, a Christmas Tree farm gone feral.
Having a quick gather as we get it and us together
We’ll be walking the Sunset Beach Trail today full of bird calls and scenic overlooks of Home Bay, named after this area of Home Ranch. The greater Drakes Estero (Estuary) opens into Drakes Bay and thence into the Pacific.
Stepping out smartly we find the hills are alive both with the sound of music and blooming coyote bushes.
Here’s a look at the considerable expanse of the Christmas Tree farm from an overlook of Home Bay from an earlier hike I took on 7/10/10. Jules Evans mentions in an excellent hike write-up from December of 2012 that according to our local historian Dewey Livingston the Christmas trees were planted to enhance the value of the ranch land in the area. Were they ever a destination for families seeking their trees for the holidays? This needs some more research. Here’s the fine, solitary hike that Jules Evans took on the Estero Trail on December 12, 2012 courtesy of BAY NATURE.
We stopped in the quiet Christmas tree forest where Michael talked of many things, no cabbages or kings but the origin of the Audubon bird count, ravens, crows and the whole passerine scene. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passerine
The bridge over Home Bay and a convenient stop to observe what’s coming in on the tide.
With views of Home Bay quite resplendent
A great Egret works on his reflection and checks the menu for lunch. http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-egret
We’ve seen White Pelicans in the Estero area on previous hikes but currently the ones I’ve watched are by the Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera and in this photo at Vintage Oaks Shopping Center in Novato behind Costco. Why would they choose what seem kind of marginal tidal areas and not be out in the beauty of Home Bay and Drakes Estero at Pt. Reyes? The very idea! http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-white-pelican
Climbing the hill out of Home Bay we again find plants growing in the seep provided by the hillside. One of Michael’s favorites is Sneezeweed:
http://portlandnursery.com/plants/perennials/helenium.shtml We just missed the bloom on this one but it still provides great food for birds.
Michael pointed out a debris spider’s web along side the trail. The spider resides in the debris “house”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclosa
Heading down the trail past some trail maintenance to a couple of stock ponds
On a previous hike, June 25. 2010, I spotted some river otters in the near pond. http://www.riverotterecology.org/research.html
Moving well to high ground overlooking Drakes Lagoon
Looking down on Drakes Estero from our picnic aerie. Was it here in 1579 that he had the Golden Hinde’s bottom scraped, parlayed with the Miwok only to continue in his circumnavigation of the globe? The link below describes him like an astronaut returning from space when he came back to England. What to do for an encore? Why not defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588? http://www.marinmagazine.com/October-2011/Did-Drake-Really-Do-It/
Some ponies from Iceland spruce up our return trail. http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com/things-to-do/activities/horses
Almost all downhill from here
I’d like to tell you that everyone celebrated on our return by hula hooping in the parking area and that seems the right ending to a beautiful hike.
Michael brought his hoops because he was planning an event at his house and he wanted some photos to include in the invitation. He’s used hooping on his international trips as neat way to get to know and bond with the people of many other cultures.