|Just another stunning Northern California vista: looking toward|
Point Reyes on the grounds of Commonweal in Bolinas.
Yesterday we drove two miles north of Bolinas and parked off Mesa Road in a lot at the head of Commonweal's driveway. The trailhead is a gate leading into a cow pasture. No cows were visible but we kept Georgie on the explorer leash to be safe: still plenty of freedom to check out mummified cow patties. The National Park Service map labels the field as "Niman grazing," so these were clearly high-quality patties.
In addition to animal droppings the meadow is dotted with giant concrete blocks, occasional antennas, and stacked metal tubing left over from the days of early radio. We were walking through the remains of the Marconi/RCA Bolinas Transmitting Station, a strategically important high-power point-to-point radio installation that operated for 60 years. The world's first trans-Pacific radio signal went out from here to Honolulu in 1913 - at the time, the longest transmission anywhere. The last official transmission, to Tahiti, was in 1973. The site's sister receiving station, up the peninsula in Marshall, is where news of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached the mainland.
|Anchor block today|
|Bolinas Marconi/RCA station, 1935|
As the dirt road climbed a small ridge and headed southwest we were treated to ocean views and windswept trees. There are several spur trails, one leading steeply down to a beach, but we opted to stay on the main trail, which turned north and paralleled the ocean. After some stunning views of Point Reyes (see above), we turned a corner and found ourselves in front of an abandoned building, later determined to be the transmitter building.
|Marconi transmitter building|
The Commonweal hiking trail is a loop running from Mesa Road southwest to the Pacific through cow pastures and the remains of the old Marconi/RCA Transmitting Station antenna farm. 2.5 miles, Bolinas, California.