Archive for point reyes national seashore

Timeless in Olema

Olema - voices from the past on a moonlit night


Named after the Miwok Indian word for Coyote, the little town of Olema is a quiet outpost of rolling hills and green pastureland on the eastern edge of the Point Reyes seashore. It’s one traffic light, perpetually blinking red, stands as a sentinel at the intersection of Sir Francis Drake Drive and Highway One. An oasis of of aging hippies, ranchers, and refugees from the City, Olema is a force of serenity on a rushed and rattled world making its way to the red blinking light standing guard at the end of the road.

I lay quietly on a clear and cool autumn night, the sky choked with stars as soft patches of moonlight illuminate the bedstead near my pillow through the parted curtains of the cottage window. In the stillness, almost like an apparition at first, I hear a soft yet persistent wail reverberate through the valley. It is the town’s namesake, coyote, baying at the moonlit night.

I am lost in timelessness, as if out in the crystalline darkness the haunting sounds of the night echo through the centuries as the Miwok and I lay motionless in the still night, entranced and enchanted, listening as if in a half-dream, to the call of Olema.

Image credit: tomswift46, courtesy flickr

Camping and the Art of Raccoons

It seemed simple enough. Take a couple days and go camping. Get away and clear my head. When I return the upcoming busy schedule will be a piece of cake. I will feel refreshed and balanced. Excellent. What could possibly go wrong with that idea?

Raccoons. That’s what.

Oh yea, and gale force winds.

I live near San Francisco. Finding a place to camp is usually effortless, since the area abounds with spots to pitch a tent. Even though it was the middle of summer, I managed to get one of the last camping sites in Point Reyes National Seashore. This is a majestic national park north of the city that holds miles of grand California coastline. My location at the Coast Campground, the reservation website informed me, would be steps away from a sandy beach in a quiet part of the park. I joyfully packed my tent, clothes and basic supplies – ready for a little adventure. The two-hour drive sailed by without traffic or worry, leaving little warning of the approaching craziness. So much for those helpful foreboding omens I hear so much about.

To get to the site, I needed to walk a couple of miles over foothills to a small grassy valley nestled right by the ocean. As I neared the campground my excitement grew because it felt the spot would be perfect. There were 14 other sites in the campground, yet it felt spacious. My site was off in a corner and it seemed that I would have few neighbors. Given the lateness of the hour, I whisked out my tent and set it up in record time. The light began to dim as sunset neared and I sat at my little picnic table surveying the scene. I breathed a sigh, enjoying the peace.

Then the attack started.
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