After the Storm… Petaluma and Point Reyes

Our stop in Petaluma was a particularly special one to John because we camped on the very Coast Guard Base he lived on for six years before his retirement in 2003. According to him not much has changed in Petaluma since then, and of course I got to hear all kinds of stories about raising his family there.

Unfortunately the stormy weather was back with a vengeance, and seemed to be following us right up the coast. We looked forward to walking the path around a little lake very near our campsite… one he enjoyed with his children back in the day. (Fishing, RC sailboats, cub scout stuff…)

When we finally had enough of a break in the weather for that walk this is what we found! And this isn’t even all of it. The small island in the middle of the lake lost a good many trees. We were, at the time, camped under a huge eucalyptus tree which seemed far too big to be effected, but I wasn’t taking any chances. As soon as a different campsite opened up we relocated The Beast!

Petaluma, California, USA

Trees down

Petaluma, California, USA

Wind wrecks havoc at the Coast Guard Training Center

Petaluma, California, USA

Another one bites the dust!

The critters seemed to enjoy the break in the weather as much as we did. The only thing missing was the family of otter who had apparently taken up residence on the island, but then a huge flock of migrating Canada Geese were creating quite a ruckus during our week-long stay.  I imagine that, since it was breeding season, they may well have scared the otters off… at least for a time.

Petaluma, California, USA

Turkey Vulture with a face only a mother could love

Petaluma, California, USA

Western Pond Turtle

Petaluma, California, USA

Black Crowned Night Heron

Petaluma, California, USA

Red-shafted Flicker

And the creatures that outnumbered them all were the wild turkey! They were everywhere, and proudly strutting their stuff. One morning I went to the billeting office to check on something and there we several lined up right outside the cafe next door, as if waiting for their morning java. They paid me no mind what-so-ever! According to John, they’ve always been there, but their numbers have grown. And why wouldn’t they? Nobody is shooting them on a Coast Guard base. I think their feathers are lovely, but oh… that face!

California, USA

Wild Turkey at the Coast Guard Training Center, Petaluma

Wild Turkey, Petaluma, California, USA

Tom Turkey struts his stuff

Wild Turkey, Petaluma, California, USA

Another face only a mother could love?

Coast Guard Training Center, Petaluma, California, USA

View from our campsite

Because we had both lived in the Greater Bay Area for a number of years there was no shortage of friends to see. Instead there was a shortage of time. My good friend Ellen, and her friend Tom met us for a tour and wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa, which had long been on John’s bucket list. This place is so cool that it’s deserving a post of it’s own, which I’ll be getting on very soon!

We drove to Cloverdale to see my friends Star and Steve, where we were treated to a wonderful homemade breakfast following by a muddy stroll around their property. We had dinner with John’s old friend, Paul, as well as his brother-in-law, Wade and his wife. AND… we met up with my friend, Mindy, again for a hike around Lafayette Reservoir…

Lafayette, California, USA

Landscaper surrounding Lafayette Reservoir

Lafayette, California, USA

Male White Pelican, Lafayette Reservoir

The one other place we ventured to while in Petaluma was Point Reyes, which is a prominent peninsula not far from the Coast Guard base. Unfortunately the State Park was closed due to storm damage, so we continued on to Abbotts Lagoon where there’s a 3.6 mile (out and back) hiking trail to the shoreline.

The trail was nothing but mud for much of the hike, but we managed. As we were hiking over a bridge across a narrow portion of the lagoon I spotted an otter. We stopped and watched, but never saw any signs of more than the one.

Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

River otter in Abbotts Lagoon

Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

We’ve been spotted by the river otter

A short distance farther and we were hiking through the sand towards the shore. I was baffled to come across these interesting little sand sculptures. I’m guessing the right kind of wind and moisture level make these formations possible. They remind me a little bit of hoodoos, but significantly smaller.

Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

Natures and sculptures

Sand sculptures, Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

John’s hand giving it scale

Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

Sand sculpture- created by nature

Point Reyes Peninsula, California, USA

More natural sand sculptures

 

Then there was the shore and waves. I love waves. Like snowflakes, every one is slightly different.

California, USA

Crashing waves, Point Reyes

California, USA

Colors of the sea, Point Reyes

Crashing waves, Point Reyes

We saw deer and bunnies on the hike back. And raven of course, because they are everywhere! And just after leaving the parking lot I spotted a bobcat way up on a hill… stalking something we couldn’t see.

Point Reyes, California, USA

Deer watching for coyote we heard howling

Point Reyes, California, USA

Bunny on the trail

Point Reyes, California, USA

Raven, strutting his stuff

Point Reyes, California, USA

Stalking Bobcat

Point Reyes, California, USA

Bobcat

And cows! I saw cows! ????  These Highland Cattle are almost as cute as the Belted Galloway. Far more attractive when they’re not soaking wet and covered with mud.

Petaluma, California, USA

Highland cattle

As I mentioned up the page a ways, one of the highlights of our time in the area was our visit to Castello di Amorosa, but I’ve got far too many cool images of the place to share in this post. It’s very impressive so be sure to tune in again… soon… for a viewing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *