coastal california

A haiku.

Sun, sand, surf, sea breeze.
Green hills, golden sands aglow.
Afterward: oysters.

Okay… poet I am not, but I’ve been feeling inspired after a totally magical day trip. My friends and I escaped to Point Reyes for a short coastal hike to Limantour Beach and refresher at Tomales Bay Oyster Farm. I was prepared for pretty views, but wasn’t expecting natural beauty of such intense, untamed magnitude. It was, in a word, magical.

I knew it was going to be gorgeous from the onset, as the Bay Area has been in the throes of its true summer; actual weather is often opposite the seasons here. We arrived at the trailhead, the Laguna Trail near the Point Reyes Hostel, under unbearably blue skies and among brambly chaparral. As the path climbed upwards, we got warmer and the scenery greener. We rounded the hill, turned a corner, and came face-to-face with a jaw-dropping expanse of beach.

At this point, the trail, above sea level, was bordered by brilliant green grass and fire-charred bushes. Beckoned by the roar of the ocean, however, we decided to go off-route. It was a bit risky sliding down a sandy cliff… but totally worth it to be near the water. The water was cold, clear, crashing; the smell of saltwater surrounded us.

After spending a good amount of time soaking in so much coastal beauty, we headed back to the Coastal Trail to finish our hike. It was a perfect return route — relaxing, picturesque, undemanding. Skinny gray trees bordered the walkway, which ran along a creek and lush lilypad-filled pond. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

On our way home, we stopped by Tomales Bay Oyster Farm, a small operation that harvests and sells fresh oysters. Being first-timers, we didn’t expect the extensive free picnic area (complete with barbecue grills) surrounding the seafood shanty. The place was booming with groups celebrating with wine, cheese, crackers, burgers, beer — you name it. Next time, we’ll pack picnic spreads and take full advantage of the outdoor amenities.

At the very least, however, we brought the bare necessities: shuckers, towels, limes and hot sauce. It was immensely satisfying cracking into oysters, freshly plucked and still dripping with sea brine. Sitting there among friends, with the sun on my face and a pile of empty shells in front of me, I felt truly content.

Limantour Beach
The Coast-Laguna Loop, described by the National Park Service here

Tomales Bay Oyster Farm
15479 Shoreline Hwy
Marshall, CA 94940
tomalesbayoysters.com

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