Point Reyes, an hour drive north from San Francisco, is a gem of a place. A prominent cape in the Marin County of northern California, it’s also a protected national park. Although only 100 square miles, with trails running along the coast and through the forest, there is a plethora of places to get away from the crowd and explore. There are great places to bike, both along rural paved roads and hard-packed trails. There are camping sites. There is a hostel right in the park – the only hostel in the country located within a national park boundary. For lighthouse aficionados, the Point Reyes lighthouse is not only photogenic – when not enveloped by fog – but has even been featured in the John Carpenter film “The Fog”. Before becoming a national park, the area was extensively used for ranching. To this day, cows roam freely within grandfathered-in ranches. And for a bit of civilization, the nearby Point Reyes Station is a charming small town to explore.
These small man-made freshwater ponds are used to raise snails for fish culture. The ponds are full of life – insects buzzing around, aquatic larvae preying or being preyed on, snails slowly making their rounds along the sides. Even fish have accidentally made their way as fry. The ponds are chock-full of plants, shooting tiny flowers above the surface. At sunrise, around 5:45 in the morning, as the sun breaks over the horizon, the ponds catch on fire with bright orange glow. As the first light slides over the ponds, the tiny white plants flicker brightly like little candles.