October 15, 2014 – Point Reyes National Seashore
Well, for the past two-and-one-half years, this website has been about walking the Camino de Santiago, a project that was NOT ever on my Bucket List. My Bucket List, for 10-20 years, has included things like:
Two weeks (or a month, but I wouldn’t push it) on the Isle of Sky in Scotland; a cross-country Canadian train trip, stopping wherever and whenever I choose; having a real vegetable garden and a summer at home to tend to it; really learning Italian, which would mean spending enough time IN Italy to actually speak it for more than two or three weeks at a time; reading all of Proust’s 4500 page, multi-volume classic; getting another piano to replace the one that melted in the first of two house fires within 9 months (December 2009 and August 2010). Things like that.
I haven’t done any of these things. I did walk the Camino, which showed up as a very wild hair, sprouted at the Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins in November 2011, and the rest of THAT, as most of you know, is history.
However, something I have wanted to do for at least fifteen years was to spend “a long weekend” at Point Reyes National Seashore. It seemed nearly impossible to manage for some reason. But three months after returning from the Camino, that Point Reyes desire showed up with a vengeance, and a long weekend now seemed impossible because it was WAY too short. So I did what I typically do when I light a fire under myself . . . I found a house for two weeks, a house that looked beautiful, a house that would allow me to take my last old dog, Marley, a house I could afford. And I put my deposit down six months ago.
So here I am, though sadly without Marley. He would not have been able to get into the house, up the set of stairs at the entry way. And by the time I was ready to drive to Inverness, Marley could not get up on all four feet by himself. We let him go on Tuesday, October 7, a sunny morning, surrounded by people who loved him. Neil and I, our wonderful vet, Amy Womack, and her tender technicians. We surrounded him as he lay on his traveling blanket on the grass under the wide arms of a large tree, helping him make that last journey.
The next day, my traveling car feeling quite empty in the back seat, I began mine, from Colorado to California, and I arrived three days later. The house is better than I even dreamed it would be, but Marley would have spent this two weeks sitting at the bottom of the driveway, unable to move much at all, so we definitely made the right decision for him.
Since then, I’ve been walking/hiking in breathtaking surroundings. Saturday an Oakland-based man I met on the Camino, Spencer, drove up to meet me and we hiked Drake’s Estero to Sunrise Beach (well, but for the mud, we would have actually arrived at Sunrise Beach). We reminisced about the Camino for hours, as we hiked, picnicked, hiked some more, and finally had dinner in Point Reyes Station. Such a rich connection when two people have shared that Camino experience. Even walking solo, one is connected in spirit to others who have done the same.
On Sunday, another beautiful day, I drove to Bolinas to see what I could see . . . sat on a bench at the junction of the bay and the ocean, and within five minutes got a parking ticket. $99 fee, said a sign posted at least 15-feet above the cars, on a hill covered by foliage. That ticket is going to be protested, and I have plenty of photos to show how ridiculous the position of the sign.
Monday, a Sausilito woman, Beverly, whom I have known through e-mails for several years, drove up and we hiked the McClures Beach/Tomales Point trail, after which time she came to my little house for dinner. The weather was in the low 70’s with a very cool breeze off the ocean, making our brilliantly sun-filled day cool enough for this heat-avoidant hiker to thoroughly enjoy the views from the beach and above it.
And the bonus yesterday was over an hour by the side of the road, watching a magnificent bull elk and his harem,, all walking closer and closer to us, from the top of a ridge quite far away to within about 50 feet of our car. The bull was protective, watchful, but we were patient.
Here’s what he looked like close up . . . a gift for the first part of my Point Reyes Bucket List dream come true:
To think that I have ten days remaining in this lovely place, and on Saturday, Neil will join me for my second week here, joined for one day by his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Nature’s pleasures are a wonder.