Friday, February 17, 2012

Salt Point State Park - Trip Report Day 1 - 2/17/12

          With hopes of snagging a campsite at Salt Point State Park we left work early on Friday and hit the road by 3PM. There are no reservations this time of year and only the Gerstle Cove campground is open. We lucked out and beat the traffic up to Petaluma where we drove west towards HWY 1 and Bodega. The countryside is beautiful as soon as you leave Petaluma and gets more interesting as you approach the coast. We followed the very windy HWY 1 along the Sonoma Coast taking in the scenery as much as we could without making ourselves car sick. At one bend in the road we spotted a bobcat on the hillside and there happened to be a perfect pullout for us to stop at.

Sonoma Coast Bobcat

          As soon as I got out of the car to get my camera from the backseat, the cat crouched next to a rock as seen above. A few moments later it took of at a full sprint up the hillside and into the scrubs.
          After Jenner the road gets even more windy as well as more precarious. Thirteen miles later we pulled into Salt Point State Park and were happy to see several vacant campsites. We drove the loop a couple of times before settling on site #15. The campsite is a little bit higher up than the others and offers a slight view of the ocean.
          Since we were lucky enough to be borrowing a Eurovan from a kind family member there was really no setting up of camp, so we decided to head down to Salt Point just in time to catch sunset. We pulled up near the A frame visitor center and set off along the Salt Point Trail where tafoni formations are abundant. The gusting wind blew salt spray everywhere and it was pretty intense. Their was a brief moment of color at the horizon before it fizzled out as the sun got snuffed out by a heavy bank of clouds.

Salt Point Sunset

Salt Point Sunset

          There were a couple hundred seagulls perched on the many rocks jutting up out of the ruff sea. Wind and waves pounded persistently yet the gulls held firm. Walking back to the car a woman commented on the beauty of the gulls perched in unison and I responded about how windy it was. She must have been local because her response was "this is nothing" as a gale nearly blew me over!
          Back at camp we got situated as the stars began to come out. We went for a short walk to go stargazing and when we got back I got my camera out and captured what I could. I was planning on going back out a bit later when more stars were visible but my plan backfired as the fog soon rolled in.

Nor Cal Night Sky

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