Back in March, we were delighted that the cows had given away another part of the California Coastal National Monument, where people could walk along a beautiful stretch of the Mendocino coast.
We had tried before to find a trailhead to this new area without success – there is little signage. Today we were more detectives, looking for parking and signs. We carefully moved off the pavement to roadside. (After we were here a few minutes several more cars stopped.)
No real ‘trail’ is marked yet except for a double wheel track, too far from the ocean. So we just headed out. We both took pictures of this fence. Mike’s won. We started to see great slabs of earth slanting up, similar to what we see at Salt Point but without the tafoni erosion.
Mike headed down one slab and I made my way along the cliff edge. He saw a forest of sea palms.
I was looking for sea lions on Sea Lion Rocks – I saw lots of cormorants.
I was mesmerized by the waves. Mike was too – I fretted as he seemed to forgot that you don’t turn your back on the ocean. We had scheduled the trip for sunny fall weather and low tide – but…
We wandered along the cliffs edge taking tons of pictures and trying to remember to look. The cliffs were fascinating looking south or
And looking south.
The cliff top is fairly even, but looking at the stacks and cliff walls you can see how fragile it all is.
The ocean is always majestic and created some interesting patterns behind the island.
Farther along the bluff’s meadow – former cow pasture is carved by water running down from the hills to the east.
Sinkholes, are just starting or already connected to the ocean.
When we looked away from ocean we saw a wide meadow. Many young pines were coming up – no longer eaten away by the cows. In a few years this might be more pine forest than meadow – if they make it past the brutal winter ocean winds and have enough rainwater.
Coming back to where we parked was the best place to take pictures of the mountains to the east.
I have no recommendation on ‘trail’ – make it up. Please be careful near the cliff’s edge and be aware of the sinkholes.
Directions: To find the trailhead, go out Lighthouse Rd from Hwy 1, north of Pt Arena. Before the turn in the road to head to the lighthouse is a small roadside parking area.
Amenities: Portapottie. No water.
If you need it, bring it back out with you. This is a no frills location – but it is most wonderful.
No bikes, no horses, & dogs on leash.
Please see one of our Mendocino posts and scroll down to find Pt Arena Lighthouse. More walking area is on the other side of the lighthouse from where we walked. This part goes to the Garcia River.
We stopped for an excellent lunch at Rollerville, at the intersection of Hwy 1 and Lighthouse Road. Across the road was a trailhead – but no parking. There is another pullout and opening in the fence between here and where we stopped.
We’ll come again. We kept wondering what wildflower show there might be in spring. A few plants were struggling now in September.
See you on the trail!
Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar – available upon request.