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Monday, 01 May 2006

Bolinas, California - Page 3

Written by Richard Martin
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If you’re driving down Highway One north of San Francisco don’t look for the road sign to Bolinas, CA, because this quirky coastal hamlet is the only California municipality without a sign to lead you from the highway to the city limits. There used to be a sign that said “Bolinas, 2 miles”-- many of them in fact, but each of the signs put up in the last 20 years has enigmatically disappeared—the longest-standing sign lasting only 36 hours.


imageDespite its populatriy with surfers, if you’re planning to go in the water, keep in mind that the mouth of Bolinas Lagoon constitutes the northernmost tip of California’s “Bloody Triangle,” where the vast majority of the Golden State’s shark attacks have taken place. From Bolinas to Santa Cruz, sharks that sup on the many harbor seals that habituate the area have been known to confuse surfers with food. While shark attacks are rare, they have happened; California’s most recent attack occurred at the mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon in 2001 when a Great White bit a surfer. His surfboard was destroyed, but the surfer survived the attack with only a scar. Nevertheless, if you can brave the 56-degree water and your fear of 18-inch incisors, you will likely find some small and slow-moving waves reminiscent of Waikiki Beach that are easy and fun to ride. Lessons, surfboards and kayaks as well as critical accoutrements like wetsuits and boots, may be rented Monday through Friday 10am - 6pm, at the 2 Mile Surf Shop (415-868-0264,


But don't spend the whole day in town—some of Bolinas's best assets are the surrounding natural attractions. Drive west on Mesa Road and wind through eucalyptus trees, magnificent views, and windy bluffs to the Point Reyes National Seashore. Where the pavement ends, there is a parking lot that serves as a nexus for several hiking trails. One that is easy but rewarding is the three-mile Coast Trail to the beautiful and surprisingly warm Bass Lake. If you'd rather hike up along the ridge for views of Point Reyes National Seashore and the ocean beyond, trek along the Ridge Trail, 16 miles long, culminating at Glen Camp. Because this national park has some of the best bird watching opportunities in the nation, don’t forget to stop at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (999 Mesa Road).


Environmental activism and extremism, have been a staple of Bolinas history since the Audubon Canyon Ranch was founded in 1962 to save the heron and egret-nesting colony at the Bolinas Lagoon from developers. The Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, which you will pass on your way into town, supports a major heronry of Great Blue Herons and Great and Snowy Egrets. The egrets and herons nesting at Bolinas Lagoon are the main attraction of this preserve, but you can also find black-tail deer, bobcat, badger, gray fox, raccoon, brush rabbit, meadow mouse, as well as numerous land birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The Preserve's frontage along Bolinas Lagoon also brings more than 60 species of water and shore birds into view—from sandpipers to osprey to pelicans—as well as some of the resident harbor seals sunbathing on sand spits.


Whether a weekend getaway or just a day’s sojourn from city life, a trip to Bolinas provides memories to treasure and stories to tell. But remember--if you’re looking for the road sign to Bolinas, you’ll have to look in the Bolinas Museum; there aren’t any on the highway…



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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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