Park Wavelengths - May 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The new moon of June 8 continues the spell of early morning daylight low tides (sunrise at ~5:48 am!):
Watch for sneaker waves. Never turn your back on the ocean and wear sturdy footwear at the tidepools where slippery surfaces abound.
The solstice is weeks away, the calendar start of summer. But many signs of the seasonal changes abound: brown pelicans swooping and splashing over Drakes Bay; common murres on the rocks below the Lighthouse; snowy plover scraping nests along the Great Beach.
California buckeyes are sending up their spires of creamy pink-brown flowers as the wildflowers season browns out. Plenty of yellow bush lupine at Tomales Point and last of the poppies at Bear Valley.
Saturday, June 1: a special history walk through Samuel P. Taylor State Park with historian Judy Coy spinning out the story of the rag paper mill and 19th century resort. Pre-registration at 707-769-5652.
Sunday, June 2: Highway 1 through Point Reyes Station will be closed at noon for the annual community parade. Watch for detours around the main area and parade goers between noon and 2 pm.
The Woodpecker Trail is closed until June 3 for repairs. The Morgan Horse Ranch Trail at Bear Valley has been cleared.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Subject: Update on Sunday, May 19 road closures
Note: The bike race is predicted to come through the Point Reyes-Olema area between 9 am and 10 am on Sunday with rolling road closures in Olema/Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and then Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. Plan accordingly.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
West Marin will be busy this weekend! A trail ride and barbecue will be staging out of the Five Brooks area on Saturday, May 18, as well as a leg of a statewide bike race on Sunday, May 19. Parking may be limited at the Five Brooks Trailhead during the Saturday event. The bike race has rolling closures: Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Olema will be temporarily closed as the bike riders pass, as will the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. Patience and Travel Early!
Looking ahead to Memorial Day weekend, a penumbral lunar eclipse-- a small eclipse that is almost unnoticeable--may be seen just after 9 pm on Friday. A full moon rises on Saturday over the holiday weekend with daylight early morning low tides.
Lake Ranch and Morgan Horse Trail remain blocked by trees. There are some "step-overs" reported on the Rift Zone Trail and Bear Valley.
The last of the wildflowers are blooming - color pops of purple Brodiaea on Lucas Valley Road summit and orange monkey flower along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. coming through the redwoods.
New benches with lovely views of Inverness Ridge have been installed on the east side of the Giacomini Wetlands along the trail adjacent to downtown Point Reyes Station.
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, the Bear Valley and the Lighthouse Visitor Centers will be open. Keep it safe: don't turn your back on the ocean; pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and extra clothing in case the wind and fog pick up.
National Park Service and US Coast Guard staff are holding their annual commemoration ceremony at the Life-Saving Service cemetery located off of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard just past the Coast Guard sign on Memorial Day, Monday at 2 pm. Look for red, white, and blue bunting. The ceremony is open to the public and is followed by a reception at the Historic Lifeboat Station.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
More shows in the sky with the Eta Aquarid meteor showers peaking on Sunday, May 5. The sliver of crescent moon should provide no competition to watching the fireballs in the early morning hours to the south east.
Tent caterpillars have pitched their webs along the Earthquake Trail. These future moths spin silky white "tents" and the caterpillars climb over them. The caterpillars are small striped larvae with bristles. They feed on ceanothus, willow, and oak before making cocoons and hatching out into brownish moths.
Twinberry is blooming along the Estero Trail. Look for two golden and pink tubular flowers next to each other; they will later become black berries surrounded by a frill of crimson. Those cauliflower-looking flowers on a stalk with large white blooms 5 to 6 feet high are cow parsnip.
Fire season has begun in Marin County and the Seashore's fire season begins soon. Please be cautious when parking in dry (already!) grass; check for sparks from catalytic converters. Hold all matches and smoking material until cold. Extinguish all beach fires with plenty of water. All beach fires in Point Reyes require a free fire permit, which are not issued in advance.
The application deadline for the Youth Conservation Corps Program has been extended until Friday, May 3. The non-residential program for young people works on clearing trail and brush removal in mid-summer.
Did You Know?
Elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris)are the largest pinniped with males reaching a maximum of about 5,000 lbs. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are much smaller with both males and females reaching a maximum weight of around 250 lbs. More...