Naturalist and writer Jules Evens has lived near Point Reyes for over 30 years. He is the founder of Avocet Research Associates and the author of The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula and An Introduction to California Birdlife (both UC Press).
This rather long and moderately strenuous hike ascends the west-facing slope of Inverness Ridge and traverse long sections its fir-forested spine. My friend Terry and I took the loop from Palomarin along the Coast Trail (2.2 miles), up the Lake Ranch Trail (3.0 miles) and then south along the Ridge Trail (4.8.miles) on October 29, 2012, under ideal conditions—crystalline skies and nary a breeze. The salubrious effects of two early and gentle rains, the first in many months, were readily apparent in the softness of the soil underfoot and freshly washed foliage. Although mushrooms had not yet pushed through the forest duff, salamanders had emerged from their subterranean summer haunts and were migrating to recently freshened ponds and creeks. The brittleness of the landscape, so distinctive at the end of the dry months, had largely vanished.