What a beautiful day at Muir Beach! Heat wave warm, with triple digit temperatures all around the Bay area. A nice gentle breeze, and us anticipating those oh so cold Pacific ocean waves, very welcoming on this unusually hot, hot day.
The beach was clustered with blankets and towels, coolers and picnic paraphernalia. Dogs and kids running all around, cooling off, in and out of the tidal waters. Moms and Dads close at hand, occasionally dipping toes in the still chilly wave action. Today, few persons were hiking in from the Coastal Trail and the parking lot was swarming with cars, folks waiting for those few and precious spots after the 11am too late beach arrival time. Highway 1 shoulders were lined with vehicles, including mine, a good walk away….
Mother Nature showcased her fascinating tide pool life. Several tiny crabs scrambled over and around the jagged rock formations separating the public beach area from the nude beach portion at the northern most end. Mussels, mussels and more mussels over taking the rock studs dividing the beach, clammed tightly shut in the baking heat, awaiting the next high tide. The thriving and vibrant colored sea anemones were the same, with exception of those closest to the sand with minimal, yet still constant cooling tidal influx. Hmmm, not one starfish to be found, where they used to flourish. Something’s changed from past years… the evolution of time, and life.
A bit of history:
According to the NPS, Muir Beach was earlier known as Bello Beach after Antonio Bello, a Portuguese settler who supposedly bought the entire hillside for a $10 gold piece. In 1919, Bello established a hotel at Muir Beach and began subdivisions for blue collar summer cabins. In 1945, the adjacent green Gulch pasture was purchased by George Weelwright. In the early 1960s he extensively modified Redwood Creek and constructed the levee downstream of Pacific Way. The area was heavily grazed for decades.
In the 1950s Bay Area urbanites began to move into this formerly isolated area. They brought with them respect for rural life, but also the new urban culture of the Bohemians and Beatniks that increasingly contrasted with that of the small farm community. A decade later the Old Tavern became a dance hall, nurturing the new generation of psychedelic bands, some of which like Big Brother and the Holding Company went on to national fame. It is actually rumored that Janis Joplin’s ashes were spread at Muir Beach. The tavern and cottages at the beach were removed in the late 1960s after California State Parks acquired the beach.