Point Reyes Adventure: Cheese, Hiking, Wildlife, and Oysters!
It is always gratifying for me when the digital conversation leads to action, especially when it involves connecting folks to nature!
At the start of the week, I had the pleasure of leading twenty-four Outdoor Afros on a day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore in California via the local MeetUp group. Many in the group had never visited Point Reyes, in spite of the short drive from where many of the participants live, and our Point Reyes veterans took delight in spending time in the outdoors with a group of people who look like them for the first time.
To prepare for the trip, I tapped into the expertise of Point Reyes visitor guide’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and with their help, mapped out a plan to take advantage of a variety of local offerings to suit our group’s interests and abilities.
Our group began our outing in the center of town at Cowgirl Creamery with a round of warm introductions. There, we were greeted by friendly welcoming staff who offered a variety of artisan cheeses to taste. We learned about the unique techniques of the creamery and the local bacteria in the air that makes Point Reyes cheese special and delicious. After choosing from a variety of tasty lunch options at the creamery, our group headed 15 miles north by car to the Pierce Point Ranch Trail to begin our hike.
The car ride to the trail was bucolic, with rolling hills and dozens of cows scattered over the landscape – a couple of calves had even broke free from their fencing and had claimed the road, allowing our caravan some up close photos.
Further along the road we ran into National Park Ranger John Elby, an African American gentleman who joined our group at the trail head and provided additional insights about the area, and answered our questions. Many were surprised and delighted to see a black ranger (another first for many), and asked him about his chosen career working for the Park Service.
We found the Pierce Point Ranch hike adaptable – the mostly flat turnaround route allowed people in the group to adjust their stroll to their level of comfort and ability. The paved trail was framed by the Pacific Ocean on one side, and Tomales Bay and its hillside farms on the other. We saw some incredible wildlife as well, such as a reserve of Tule Elk, a whale, a weasel, and several raptors circling overhead. The group captured many stunning views in photos. Here are some great pictures captured by social media maven Adria Richards – check them out.
After a brisk hike for many, several group members headed 10-miles down the road by car for an optional visit to Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, the last cannery in California. There we were greeted warmly, sampled small, medium, and large oyster varieties, and received a lesson in oyster shucking. Several Outdoor Afros purchased oysters to enjoy at home.
As the sun began to set to chill the air, our caravan split up to head in the direction of home, inspired by nature, great company, and delicious food.
Outdoor Afro thanks Cowgirl Creamery, Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, National Park Service Ranger John Elby, Adria Richards for all these amazing photos, and the enthusiastic participants who each reported back the wonderful and fulfilling time they had in nature. Outdoor Afro Sunnie said, “It was a beautiful hike. Everyone in the group was so friendly and warm. I had a great time.”
I could not agree more.