Greetings from Point Reyes National Seashore

Time seemed to slow to a halt as I stepped onto the sands of Point Reyes National Seashore. Amidst the vibrant wildlife that thrived here, I found myself reflecting on a quote by Oscar Wilde, “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”

At the visitor center, I eagerly joined a group to listen as a park ranger unraveled the mysteries of sea lion behavior. Nearby, a gathering of young sea lions basked lazily on the adjacent beach, their playful antics a celebration of youthful exuberance.

“Did you know that sea lion pups practice holding their breath by dipping their faces into puddles?”

The ranger’s words painted a vivid picture of the animal kingdom. Holding a piece of dried sea lion hide, I marveled at its texture – one side smooth and soft, the other lined with hook-like hairs, a reflection of nature’s ingenuity. Sea lions, it seemed, held secrets both remarkable and profound.

Yet, beneath the surface of wonder, I felt a tinge of lingering sorrow. Learning that sea lions were compelled to journey further north each year due to the warming of their habitats saddened me deeply. I worried for their safety and the precariousness of their nesting sites.

Leaving the visitor center behind, I went to see the sea lions up close. After a short hike, I reached a building adjacent to a small beach where around ten sea lions rested in the sand. Most lay still, occasionally flicking sand onto their bodies to cool down. However, beneath the pavement where I stood, a delightful pair of sea lions engaged in playful banter. One batted at the other, while its companion attempted to sleep. This sleepy sea lion occasionally snarled at the other, and they would jerk their heads around before settling down and hugging each other with their flippers.

As I watched, I lost track of time, unwilling to tear myself away from this tender scene. Point Reyes National Seashore had revealed to me not only the preciousness of aquatic life but also the urgent need to protect it from the encroachment of climate change. In its pristine beauty and vibrant ecosystems, I glimpsed both the fragility and resilience of our natural world – a reminder that nurturing my soul through deep connections with nature is both essential and enriching.


Point Reyes National Seashore

This seashore, established in 1962, is the only national seashore on the West Coast. It features windswept beaches, coastal cliffs and headlands, marine terraces, coastal uplands, salt marshes, estuaries, and coniferous forests. Located on the Point Reyes Peninsula, 40 miles northwest of San Francisco, the park encompasses about 71,070 acres, stretched across more than 80 miles of undeveloped coastline. Within the park, 32,730 acres are designated wilderness or potential wilderness, constituting one of the most accessible wilderness areas in the country, and the only marine wilderness (Drakes Estero) on the West Coast south of Alaska. The park harbors an astonishingly rich array of wildlife species, some found nowhere else on Earth.

State(s): California

Established: 1972

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