California: Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Tower

308 Stairs to the Lighthouse

Point Reyes National Seashore

The Point Reyes Lighthouse sits on a tip of land in northern California that juts 10 miles out to sea.  This location is the windiest place on the Pacific coast, and the second foggiest in North America!   The highest wind speed ever recorded was 133 mph, and 60 mph winds are common. Lighthouse keepers sometimes climbed on their hands and knees up the stairs to keep from being blown away.  Weeks of fog are common in summer, as reported in a journal in 1885:   “Fog, fog, and nothing but fog.”  In 1887, the local newspaper reported that “the fog sirens have been in operation for 176 consecutive hours now, and the attendants look as if they have been on a protracted spree.”  During winter storms, ocean spray shoots 200 feet into the air. 

 The lighthouse itself is a 16-sided 37-foot iron tower that is anchored to the cliff with large bolts.  The tower houses a 3-ton Fresnel lens composed of 1,000 hand cut prisms and bull’s eye glass. The light was first lit on December 1, 1870.  Its beam is a white flash every 5 seconds.   In 1975 the Coast Guard installed an automated signal at the point, and the lighthouse was turned over to the National Park Service.  Getting to and from the lighthouse is quite an effort.  There are 308 stairs between the observation platform at the top of the hill and the lighthouse below.  Walking back up is equivalent to walking up the stairs of a 30-story building!

About Pam
Richard and Pam lived in the San Francisco Bay Area 14 years (1987-1999 and 2008-2011). They lived in Florida 13 years previously, until returning in July 2011 to present. They hope their photography will encourage you to get out and discover nature's beauty in your own backyard, parks, and wild places. Click on any pictures on this blog to see them full size with additional details.

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