Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Point Arena Light House

I had been mulling over the idea to continue north up Highway 1 instead of going home for a couple days and didn’t really decide until Friday morning when the sun came out for the first time all week.  It’s 100 miles from Bodega Bay to Fort Bragg.  I took the whole day and was wishing I had a whole week. There is nothing to compare to the north coast.  A high ‘light’ for me was the Point Arena Light House.  As soon as I saw the signs I knew I was stopping to climb the stairs.


The lighthouse is 127 feet tall.  That’s the fog horn building in the background.


There’s a narrow hall way around the stairs in the base. Then the structure narrows around the spiral staircase.


There’s a bit of movement as people climb the stairs.  I was lucky to join a group of only 9 and they were ahead of me so I got to really feel the experience.  (HH friends, I am happy to say I climbed those 127 stairs easily, yay, maybe I can get inside the dam for a test of those  infamous 312!)

This is looking back down a section of the stairs.


And this is looking up.  The stairs get steep and the spiral gets very tight towards the top.  In fact, the last section into the light chamber is more like a ladder.


The light was removed in 1977 and so the chamber is empty.  That’s my van parked against the white fence.


It’s an absolutely amazing view from the balcony that circles outside the light chamber.  This is the fog horn building and on the right is a small section of the punch bowl that’s left (the rest has washed away).


The old equipment is housed in the fog house along with the light.  The Fresnel lens was created in Paris in 1907.  It’s comprised of 666 individual hand-ground glass prisms.  This huge light was mounted in a structure that enabled it to float on 5.3 gallons of mercury, providing an almost frictionless bearing.  (Thinking of the HH again and the rotators in the generators). 


The Point Cabrillo Light House is a ways north of here (just south of Fort Bragg).  It’s only open on week-ends so will require some advance planning for a visit. 

Finally, a shout out to the ‘light house keepers’ and their families who lived in these remote and very harsh locations.  I always feel a deep connection to my ‘watershed keeper’ roots.

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