Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Point Bonita

Ever since I had laid eyes on the Point Bonita lighthouse from the distance, I wanted to visit it close up. First I had to wait though until it reopened. Although in it's current location since 1877, it was closed due to repair work until this spring.

Shortly after it reopened I paid it a visit, envisioning the great views one must have from this most northern tip of the Golden Gate.

But as so often here on the coast, the fog came rolling in and there was no view... But the lighthouse itself is charming enough and a knowledgeable volunteer was more than happy to talk about the lighthouse' history.
The first Point Bonita lighthouse was built further up the cliff in 1855. But due to the mostly low lying fog, it was utterly useless. In the 1870s the lighthouse finally was to be moved to a lower location. Which proved to be rather difficult in that steep and rocky area. First a tunnel had to be dug out of the rock leading to the current location, then the lighthouse could finally taken into operation  in 1877.

Until 1940 the lighthouse was actually connected to the mainland by a small walkway. But this walkway gave way to erosion in 1940 and a suspension bridge, mimicking it's famous big sister, the Golden Gate bridge, was built. It was this bridge that needed repair and led to the two year closure of Point Bonita.

Point Bonita is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. I thought it would make a wonderful sunset place and asked the volunteer if there is the possibility to gain entrance at after hours. And sure enough every month at full moon the Marin Headlands visitor center organizes so called full moon walks. A note of caution: You have to register for that and they book out way in advance.

So I had to wait a few months until I finally secured a spot. Given that it was the end of September I hoped for clear skies....but not so much luck. It was even foggier than the first time.

 Well, I guess that's why the lighthouse is there, right?

Nevertheless, it was a great outing, and I have a valid reason to come back.
This is by the way the original fresnel lens from 1877 and note the detail of the eagle shaped rain spouts! As always click on the photos to get a better look at the images.


National Park Service Point Bonita

Lighthouse Friends

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