And A Prologue


The stretch of coast between Half Moon Bay and Point Año Nuevo, California is one of my favorite settings. In total, it is perhaps only twenty miles or so and includes the villages of San Gregorio and Pescadero.

While driving south from Half Moon Bay, on the left is rolling agricultural land and on the right a view of surf, cliffs, and rocks. Highway One becomes an ecotone between pastoral and marine. Looking out to the horizon you can often see ships, fishing boats, and occasionally the spout of a gray whale as it migrates north or south along the coast. About half way between Pescadero and Año Nuevo is Pigeon Point which is graced by a lighthouse straight from a picture book.

Lighthouse at Pigeon Point

Lighthouse at Pigeon Point

Pigeon Point was my destination early in the spring of 1986, as it had been many times before. It is a truly magical spot and it’s my favorite place to watch the Sun set. As I drove south in the late afternoon light, I was once again struck by the beauty of the area. All the hills were green with spring, and fleecy clouds left over from a late season storm were blowing in from the horizon. Row upon row of artichokes flashed by to my left while cattle and sheep could be seen grazing on the hills in the distance.

Since Pigeon Point is only an hour’s drive from Palo Alto, I often went there when I needed a break in my daily routine. It has the advantage of being close while seeming far away. As the light fades, the sound of surf predominates along with the flash of the beacon at the lighthouse. One could, at that time, park right on the edge of the cliff and look down about 40 feet to the surf dashing against the rocks below. Low tide reveals a plethora of tide pools. At night the lights of the fishing boats are stippled along the horizon and, when the moon is not out, the milky way is plainly visible. You sleep to the primal rhythm of the surf. Eternal . . . eternal . . . eternal; the sound of the surf is one of only a few sounds I can think of that connect us so directly with the eternal.

Upon arriving that evening in 1986, I settled down with a glass of wine just north of the lighthouse. As I watched the Sun slip out of sight, I wondered if I would find a spot to match this during my trip north. Maybe, and what else would I find . . .

Alaska Travel Route

Alaska Travel Route

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Monday, September 29th, 2008 And A Prologue No Comments