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Favorite thing: This is the view down the east side of Tomales Point looking toward Tomales Bay. The odd thing about Tomales Point is the rocks in the Point do not match the rocks on the mainland directly to the east. Instead, the Tomales Point rocks match the Tehachapi Mountains 310 miles to the south. This is because the Tomales Point and all of Point Reyes lie on the Pacific plate, while the California coast to the east lies on the North American plate. Separated by the San Andeas fault, the Pacific plate moves 2 inches per year northward, compared to the North American plate. When the pressure becomes too great, the underlying rocks break loose and an earthquake occurs.
This is exactly what happened during the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco. In fact, near the town of Point Reyes Station (epicenter of '06 quake) to the south of Inverness is an exhibit with a fence that crosses both plates. During the 1906 earthquake, the fence was ripped apart and one side advanced a full 16 feet ahead of the other side!
Updated Mar 11, 2005
Favorite thing: On a clear day, while at the very end of Tomales Point, you might be able to make out a town off in the distance on the main coast to the north. The town is Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed. You will almost expect to see Tippi Hedren zipping toward you in a motor boat while being pursued by a flock of seagulls.
Updated Mar 10, 2005
Favorite thing: As you hike along the Tomales Point trail, you will be guaranteed to see at least one herd of tule elk. More than 100 years ago, these animals used to roam freely throughout central and northern California, but were all but wiped out by man during the gold rush era.
In 1978, ten elk, eight females and two males, were brought to Pierce Point Ranch on Tomales Point. The elk have very few predators, and the population has exploded to over 450. Now, park rangers have a different problem on their hands - what to do with the elk population explosion.
The elk are confined to Tomales Point, because the nearby cattle ranchers do not want them grazing on their ranch land. Today in 2005, the Tomales Point tule elk are grazing in an area that is about 1/3 of the size this population of elk would normally occupy, if they were allowed to roam freely beyond Tomales Point.
This is indeed a quandary for the Park Services. The first hint of a suggestion of elk hunting as a way to control the population will set off the animal rights activists. This sort of controversy is typical for Marin County - animal rights activitists who feel any intervention with animals is cruel vs. environmentalists who want to restore Marin County to its pristine state before man came here.
Updated Mar 9, 2005
Favorite thing: No, this is not my garden, but I wish it was. The hike along the Tomales Point trail takes you through lush gardens of wildflowers.
In March, this sight will be commonplace - California poppies mixed in with Point Reyes wallflowers and lupines (not yet blooming).
Written Mar 8, 2005
Favorite thing: Another beautiful native wildflower that is abundant in March on Tomales Point is the Douglas Iris. While this one isn't rare, the Point Reyes National Seashore, of which Tomales Point is part, is home to 47 rare plant species. The lack of development on Point Reyes has helped preserve many of these plant species.
Written Mar 8, 2005
Favorite thing: California poppies start blooming in March and are abundant on Tomales Point in the spring. This is the California State flower, and is seen all over Northern and Southern California, growing on hillsides, on cliffs, and alongside roadways and freeways.
Written Mar 8, 2005
Favorite thing: And if you are really lucky, you may see the rarely photographed three-headed tule elk on the Tomales Point trail.
Updated Mar 8, 2005