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My friends Wrybread and Mabel have had an ongoing campaign to get me out of my computer cave in NYC to visit them in San Francisco. They've been on me about it for at least a year. I'm not much of a traveler, my last trip out West was about 8 years ago. But I've recently received a unique opportunity to travel, and I've decided to make the most of it. Wry even gave me his bedroom while he pitched his tent in his summertime "Camp Wrybread" on the roof of the warehouse where he lives in the self-described "worst neighborhood in San Francisco". I couldn't have been treated better.
Babylon is a new Burning Man style event that was being initiated while I was out there. It is described on their website as a "three-day outdoor festival in a private mountainside glen 3 hours north of San Francisco off Highway 1". I don't think they want the exact location given out.
It sounded pretty cool, so over Easter weekend 2000 we packed up Mabel's Westphalia "Vanna" and headed up there on highway 1. It used to be the coast railroad line, and it's unbelievably beautiful. There is such a wealth of splendor that by the end of the trip it hurt our eyes. Such sights are meant to be taken in at a walking pace.
Map of Point Reyes in California
We'd left SF in the late Thursday afternoon rush hour and near sunset we arrived at McClures Beach. The signs did say no camping on the beach, but they didn't say anything about overnight parking. So leaping on that imagined loophole we ran down the long trail to the near deserted beach to explored a bit, and waded ankle deep in the "extremely dangerous" icy waters.
We came back up to Vanna as the sun set to make a delicious meal. And after being trounced three times in a row by Wry at Chinese Poker, I went off to sleep in the comfy poptop of the van, while Mabel and Wry took the bottom bunk.
They'd drifted off to sleep, but I was still awake at a bit after Midnight listening to a High Wiccan on the Art Bell show, when the sheriff arrived. Mabel saved us from any real hassles with the young lawman with her own seductive sleepy girl witchcraft. Purring "Hi-i-a" to him and I'm sure batting her languid eyes as he shown his flashlight in the window. Distracted by her beauty, he missed seeing me altogether, but took their I.D.'s to run them through the system. But then he let us off with just a warning, and we got to stay there until morning. Whew!
I was up before the sun rose and went down the path to the beach. The hills were covered with Elk. I approached them slowly and they meandered a bit higher on the hills, but let me pass amongst them without much concern. I was honored. Later I learned that there mountain lions stalk. I might not have been as bold in my pre-dawn trek, had I known that then.
It's nearly impossible to capture the beauty of this place in a single photograph, but I think the following panorama composed of 18, 35mm photos does a fair job. I took it at sunrise from the peak of the rock shown above.
My nomination for the most beautiful spot on earth.
Click the thumbnail above to see the full panorama.
This plaque is bolted to the base of the higher rock to the right of the one I climbed to get the panorama. I didn't feel any real need to scramble up past this warning. I'd flirted enough with my death wish climbing the jagged rocks of the smaller one.
Account and great photos looking shoreward at McClures, from Mike Higgins in his kayak.