Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mother Nature does me wrong

It hit me in the head like a frying pan this morning that I totally didn't finish showing you all my vacation photos from California.

Wait! Don't go! We're not talking about some random snapshots of the sunny beach with people in the background we don't even know* (yawner stuff). Oh no, instead we got some Drama. Complete with shrieking and curses directed at nature. A cliff hanger, so to speak. And a reference to the Addams Family. Oh yes.

So this vacation day begins in the usual benign manner. Hunched over our hotel breakfast, the Husband and I review the Sonoma County map to see where to drive to on this gorgeous sunny day. Keeping with the trend of the week, I win the debate and we head off on a scenic drive to Point Reyes to see more things that we don't have in Ohio.

Point Reyes National Seashore is kind of a big deal around here. From National Park Service website we learn: 

From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration.
Did you see that? Point Reyes is awaiting us! And I gotta be honest here. We've hit a few of the California beaches this week and of the 1500 species of plants and animals, I can pretty much check off seaweed and a vulture.  I'm jazzed with the thought of exotic west coast critters.

Point Reyes is mind boggling huge. Miles of trails and shorelines to hike along. Too bad for us we couldn't bring any backpacking gear on this trip. This lack of essential equipment keeps us from exploring the more strenuous trails of discovery.  Which is the excuse I'm running with. Like I've ever backpacked.  No, instead we opt for a short jump down McClures Beach Trail, a trek just under a mile. According to the hiking guide:

Descend steeply down a rugged ravine trail to the ocean. McClures Beach is a beautiful cove backed by rocky cliffs. Watch out for tidal fluctuations and dangerous surf. (20 min./easy). 
The hiking guide rates the trails as Easy, Moderate or Strenuous. Being new around here, Easy seems a reasonable start.  And so we ride. The forty minute drive from the visitor center to the trail head takes us from warm and sunny California to some chilly and foggy alternate universe. We watch the temperature on the dashboard display rapidly drop to 54 degrees.

Did you bring a jacket? asks the Husband with heartwarming concern for my well-being.

Naw, I scoff. I don't even own a jacket and he knows that. I run on the warm-blooded side.  Jackets are for wussies.

A quick, but rather annoyed, glance my way.  Present company excluded, of course, I say.

At the trailhead, the country before us is a thing of beauty. The Husband grabs that oh-so-manly jacket of his, I sling the camera over my shoulder and we're off on our 20 min./easy hiking adventure.



 About this point on the trail, we see the ocean just ahead.  Off the left side of the trail is a steep drop off.


I marvel once again at how California put total trust in their hiking public by assuming we all have the gift of grace to not go pummeling down into the depths of nature.  As we're smoothly tooling along, I note that You know, it's not so far down that a fall like this would kill you. It'd just be a compound fracture or something. Right? Like the kind of break where the bone is sticking AAAAH!  HOLY COW!

So, we all know I didn't actually shriek cow, don't we? What's the next two words that come after Hey y'all, watch this!?  Yep, my foot slips from the sandy trail, it does. And I begin to lose my footing altogether on the crumbling path. I already know I'm not going to die, because we just covered this. But I'm not in favor of a femur popping out of my thigh like a misplaced alien either. I begin to panic. And curse like a drunken sailor.

Mr. Sure Footed is behind me watching the drama unfold.

Here, take the camera and save yourself! I yell.  I'm goin' down!

Do you want some help? he asks.

Naw, I'm good, I say.

I'm a product of the '70's.  No, don't pity me, it wasn't that bad of an era if you take the fashion designed by the criminally insane out of the equation. For us coming-of-age young women, it was drilled into our brains that real women do not need help. We are women, hear us roar, dammit.

I got myself into this mess, and I'll manage to get out. Or down. Or something.  I wonder if Careflight can make it through this fog. Dang, do we even have a cell phone signal out here?

So anyway, I take a moment to stop cursing Mother Nature and all her unwashed children to take a deep breath. Perhaps if I just take slothlike movements, I can scootch along here. 

Which works out quite well actually. And moments later, we are walking along McClures Beach.



The arrow marks where nature had done me wrong
 Oh my. I'm not disappointed.

Smooth round stones across the shore

I call this Yellow Bucket. Or I would if I were an artist.

Kinda like a dinosaur egg in a stone nest.

My shoes are here for perspective.
And because the Husband wouldn't let me pitch the damnable things into the surf.

Recalling that Point Reyes was bragging about all that wildlife, we check the tidal pools and watch the skies for any natural fauna. But nada. Instead we find stuff like this.

Was there a foot in it? ask the Husband.
Which irritates me terribly. Because he though of that and I didn't.


A mermaid's purse. An egg casing from a skate or shark, I suppose.

Then I see the tiny footprints of a child.  Ah, a family was here not long ago.

Wait, a family? Who takes their little kid to a beach like this?  Cold, foggy and windy, the proverbial place where the sun don't shine. The single disembodied hiking boot just helps to set the scene here. And instead of an adorable lopsided sandcastle, the dark-minded tot instead created some sort of Moat of Doom in the sand.  Like something out of the Blair Witch Project.  Honestly folks, what an utterly depressing place to take your kid to. What kind a parents are these people anyway?

Here, Wednesday, says Morticia.  Use this hiking boot as a shovel and bury your brother in the sand, my dear.



Well, it does take all kinds. We can't all be normal, with everyone thinking the same thoughts and all. Now that really would be depressing, wouldn't it?

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*Ever wonder about that? How many times your unsuspecting self got captured in the background of other people's vacation photos? People-packed places like Disney World or Myrtle Beach? I imagine there's families of The Beautiful People out there that are photobombed by my wide load bending over a flowered tote bag. Nice shot of the kids, Steve, a friend would say. Um, pretty crowded there at Epcot, huh? 

3 comments:

  1. Why, it's been a while since I laughed so heartily at vacation photos, but it was the story that went along with them that did it, hahameow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, forgot to ask, will you and a pup be at BlogPaws this year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Teri! I'm not able to make it to BlogPaws this year. Everything I've been reading makes it sound like it's going to be a blast again. So I'm a bit disappointed.

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