Friday, August 27, 2010
Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Weeks of fog, especially during the summer months, frequently reduce visibility to hundreds of feet. The Point Reyes Headlands, which jut 10 miles out to sea, pose a threat to each ship entering or leaving San Francisco Bay. The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse warned mariners of danger for more than a hundred years. First lit on December 1, 1870 the lighthouse is located on the westernmost point of the Point Reyes peninsula, 19 miles (31 km) from the nearest town of Inverness, California. The 35 ft (10.5 m) 16-sided pyramidal cast iron tower is a twin of Cape Mendocino Light and is accessible by a short walkway (with 308 stone stairs) from the headland to the plateau. The Point Reyes Lighthouse was retired from service in 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light. The Lighthouse Visitor Center offers exhibits and tours and seasonally, there are tours of the lantern room and evening lighting programs.