Mary West: A walk along the edge
West, where land meets sea is where I traded in smoke for coastal fog and oppressive heat for hikes in higher humidity. Our rugged foothill trails still own me, but the sand dunes and beaches of the coast were a needed reprieve. Each spring I chase spring up to our Sierra Nevada Mountains but when the last of the flowers are gone and the grasses are brown, I turn a new direction.
Bodega Bay is under two hundred miles, or less than three hours from home. We take Interstate 80 to CA37 to Highway one. There is a curve on Highway one that tells me I am on the coast, and I instinctively roll down the windows and breathe the ocean air. Eucalyptus trees hang with bright green moss, windswept cypress appear to hug the fog, their scent filling the air.
Windows down you can hear the crash of waves against the coastline. This is where I walk along the edge. The Bodega Headlands are dotted with regional parks and Sonoma State Park is nearby.
The invasive ice plant is colored bright red and still hosts blooms. It’s a challenge to resent the succulent but I remind myself of the hard work and success Doran Beach celebrates at its removal and welcomes back pockets of coyote bush, yarrow, pickleweed and endangered Point Reyes Bird’s Beak.
Searching out tidal pools, I find starfish, hermit crabs, mollusks, sea anemones and more. Sea birds patiently hunting are never far away.
With so much to see and do, and cooler weather to rejuvenate my mind, the north coast is my favorite hiking getaway.
Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide I, II and III (2nd edition Available on Amazon). The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column and the 2020 Craft Award for her second book in the series-Day Hiker Gold Country Trail Guide by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
Grow your own burn ointment by adding Aloe vera to your indoor plant collection. This succulent has been used for centuries to treat superficial burns, cuts, sunburns, and more.
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