A SoCal Break, Day 1, Part 2: Point Vicente

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJune 12, 2017, San Onofre-   

Since first visiting Palos Verdes Peninsula, west of Los Angeles, a couple of years ago, I have wanted to go back and actually walk a bit, from one of the overlooks, down to the beach and back.  This afternoon, I chose the southern end of the peninsula, at Point Vicente, to make that hike.

The Point Vicente area is the site of a U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse, one of three in southern California- the others being at Point Loma, in San Diego, and at Point Conception, between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.  As an active Coast Guard facility, it is off limits to visitors, save for a few hours on a certain day of the week.  This was not that certain day.


Point Vicente does have a lovely Interpretive Center, operated by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  The small museum, focusing on marine mammals and other aquatic life, is supplemented by a crew of docent volunteers.


There is also a spacious viewing platform, with a particularly fine view, today at least, of Santa Catalina.


In between the platform and the island, however, there is much to hold a visitor’s attention.  Beach plum is as plentiful here, as it used to be at the beaches of Massachusetts, when I was a kid.


Once down to the narrow beach, it is possible to walk for about 1/4 mile, before a field of boulders renders the walk questionable, at least in the eyes of locals.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES


Small rocks jut out of the open water, as they do all along the Pacific Coast, the result of continuous volcanic activity, over the eons.


Kelp is also plentiful, though the mollusks which feed on it are much rarer in southern California than they were, even ten years ago.


The rock below gave me the sense of a stranded turtle, looking seaward.


Flowering plants, like these daisies, always seem to find a niche, whether on the shore or in the desert.


I could not remember whether these are hydrangea or Oregon grape.


Palos Verdes’ trail system is also part of the California Coastal Trail, which “when completed” will provide access to 1200 miles of California shore line, from San Ysidro to the Oregon state line- after which, of course, the Oregon Coast Trail takes over, clear to Astoria.  I’m not getting any bright ideas, mind you, though there were four middle-aged people who made the trek from Crescent City to San Ysidro, in 2003.  The Trump Corporation has even granted an easement across its National Golf Course, south of Point Vicente.

Point Vicente, by the way, got its hybrid name from Captain George Vancouver, after his friend, Friar Vicente, when his ship rounded the peninsula, in 1790.   The connection, then, is with Mission San Buenaventura, some 92 miles to the north northwest.

A good day’s exploration done, I called it a rest, and headed southward, arriving here at San Onofre State Beach, a bit after 7 PM.  Tomorrow will bring a more sanguine visit with a friend of several years and a bit of collecting ocean water.



6 thoughts on “A SoCal Break, Day 1, Part 2: Point Vicente

  1. If I’m not mistaken, this area is very close to a now defunct theme park named Marineland, a predecessor to Sea World. It was a wonderful park on the cliff where Trump National Golf Course is now located. The park closed when the tanks sprung leaks and could no longer sustain marine life. Why the leaks? It is also very close to an ancient but still active landslide area, home of the Church of the Wayfarer, a Frank Lloyd Wright building. The purple plant looks like statice to me — aka limonium (not hydrangea). And that is a beautiful view of Catalina!


    • Thanks for the name of the plant, Janet! Yes, the museum has a small exhibit on Marineland of the Pacific. I remember it, from childhood, if only because of various TV shows that featured the park.


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