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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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).

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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). 

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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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