March 16, 2014

the road to Point Reyes

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

That is Elephant Mountain (a.k.a. Black Mountain) as seen from the western shore of Tomales Bay. During the work-week you normally won't find a soul, but on weekends a steady stream of autos ply the road to Point Reyes.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The date of 1579 is well established, but the place English explorer Sir Francis Drake landed along our west coast, claiming it for England, has been debated.

There is no dispute that Drake sailed north along the Pacific Coast after raiding Spanish settlements in Panama. His ship, the Golden Hind, was leaking badly, and he needed to find a harbor on this unexplored coast.

On June 17, 1579, he sailed around the hook of an unnamed point of land, and found what he thought was good harbor, protected from the westerly winds and the mist Drake called "fogges." This reminded him of England.

Drake's crew made contact with local people - possibly the Miwok people who lived in the region - repaired the ship, nailed a plate of brass to a tree claiming the land for Queen Elizabeth and sailed home, around the world.

However, the description Drake and his officers left behind for future historians was somewhat vague. For years, scholars said they were sure Drake landed near Point Reyes. But over the years, other scholars and amateur historians claimed Drake landed on their coast. "As far north as Alaska"; some say, while others say the fair harbor that reminded him of England was San Diego. Nevertheless, Drake's Bay at Point Reyes, about 20 miles north of San Francisco, is officially recognized as Drake's landing spot by the National Register of Historic Places.

Photographing Marin County - the exhibit and book       

1 comment:

Zoomie said...

You photographed an angle of my friend Bonnie's view from her house on that road. I should introduce you two - she's a photographer, too.

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