Franklin Point, California Coast, in 3 visits

Staring out the window of my Dad’s old Ford pickup when I was a kid, there was always this one bit of scenery that commanded my attention. There were dunes – row upon row of them – between the highway and the ocean. Those dunes marched along the shore silently in their majestic, unwavering ranks.

I imagined getting lost in those dunes. Playing hide and seek, discovering a cache of hidden treasure left by pirates (that was exposed by the wind just as I walked past), being a soldier taking part in the invasion of Normandy.

The dunes along this section of road are covered with long, wavy grass that billows and flows in the wind in mesmerizing patterns. The largest of these grass-covered dunes resembled a sleeping cat to me. I mentally called it ‘Shorty’ after Dad’s rotund feline housemate.

I realized not too long ago that I never once stopped there to explore, play hide and seek, look for buried treasure.

A month or two ago I decided to make this place a destination. I was happy to learn that those dunes hide a stretch of beach roughly a mile long. The beach ends abruptly at the rocky point. South of the rocky promontory there lies a rugged stretch of coastline, a protected cove or two and some wonderfully beautiful and sparsely traveled country. Between the highway and the shore are those dunes I mentioned at the outset. They look much less imposing from the safety of a speeding car. Once you’re out on the trail, though, their size, breadth and the forces required to build them becomes apparent very quickly.

Over the past several weeks I’ve made 3 hiking/photography trips out to the area: One from the north along the beach starting at Gazos Creek, one from the south, parking on the west side of Highway 1 across from Rossi Road, and one sort of in between at an unmarked dirt turnout alongside the highway.

I hope you enjoy the result. No buried treasure so far, but I’m going to keep looking.

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