The Point Reyes national Seashore is an outstanding monument of national beauty and is probably one of the most striking of islands in the Southern California area. The island was formed during several earthquakes and since it lies on the San Bernardino fault, it is obviously prone to earthquakes of substantial power and ferocity.
At present the earthquake trail is quite interesting although it is actually eroding itself day by day making it ever more dangerous for a visit. There actually over 240 kilometers of trails which can explore on the Point Reyes island although this is by far the most popular. Since the earthquake trail lies right on top of the San Adreas fault, this is a pretty precarious place for any visitor to walk around. As time goes by, the constant tremors in the area are taking their toll on the trail which is becoming ever more perilous for visitors.
Other interesting facets of the trail include the wide variety of wildlife as well as a number of branch trails which take you to different areas of the island. The Bear Valley Trail is particularly interesting as it shows the island in a different facet. However it is also important to note that the earthquake trail on its own includes many areas of incredible beauty and wonderful scenery although one must take special care not to wander into the too dangerous areas.
Why are the higher areas of the Point Reyes peninsula like Mount Wittenburg covered with forest?
The Point Reyes peninsula contains several different topographical areas and the amount of vegetation varies widely for different reasons. Since there are also varying degrees of altitude, the island also encounters different habitats and plants.
Mount Wittenburg is an imposing peak which rises about 1407 feet from sea level. It has a sort of tropical climate at that rather high altitude and this means that vegetation is abundant. This is also an area where the forest cover is pretty substantial and it is quite dense in places. Naturally enough the area is rather impassable but it has been mapped before and there are also a number of unique trees in the area.
There are other high peaks on the Point Reyes peninsula but none are as imposing as Mount Wittenburg which definitely takes the cake for outstanding beauty. The fact that it is completely covered with forest is also due to the increased levels of precipitation in this area which increases the abundance of plant life and also deciduous forests.
The 1906 earthquake greatly affected the Point Reyes peninsula in such a way that the mountain in question shifted around 20 feet to its right due to the considerable tremors which affected the area. Even today one can observe the flaws in the earth’s crust next to the mountain and the system of springs which is also available here lends itself to a huge increase in lush vegetation and outstanding beauty. The Mount Wittenburg area is certainly worth a visit if you are interested in observing a forest at close quarters and a forest on an island is a rather special rarity.
What types of rock are found at the lighthouse? Why is this area higher than the surrounding area?
The Point Reyes lighthouse is certainly one of the most imposing points of the Point Reyes peninsula and apart from the lighthouse itself which is a hugely interesting French construction dating from the early 19th century, there are a wide variety of rocks which dot the area ranging from amorphous volcanic rock to hard stone. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the area is particularly prone to severe earthquakes and the molten rocks which are created when the earth’s crust is in turmoil eventually solidifies and leaves substantial rock deposits which are quite a sight to behold.
However the area is actually higher than the surroundings due to a number of factors but principally due to the fact that the rock around the lighthouse was blasted to create a peninsula so that the lighthouse could be constructed on top of a perch and seen by mariners with some clarity. The Point Reyes peninsula has always been a rather treacherous place for seafarers and there had been many a shipwreck in the area before the lighthouse was built.
The foreshore around the lighthouse is also extremely dangerous with several jagged rocks and a low sea level with ships getting foundered at regular intervals. Naturally the lighthouse had to be built on high ground to enable maximum visibility so the surrounding area needed to be flattened to create the outcrop.
The lighthouse is quite worth a visit due to its very complex working mechanism and very beautiful design. The interesting variety of rocks found here are also of hugely interesting value these are also well worth a visit.
National Park service, US Department of the Interior (2011); Point Reyes National Pensinsula; Retrieved from: http://www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm