Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour

One of the highlights of our August trip to the Central Coast was a tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station. Located just north of San Simeon, the light station was closed to the public until a few years ago. Now it's being renovated, and the two-hour tour is really informative--well worth it for a look at the buildings and a walk along the coastal nature trail.

On the day we were there, it was quite foggy. Still, the views of the rocks were spectacular, and the sounds of barking seals and sea lions nearly deafening! Hordes of seabirds were roosting on the rocks as well. The native landscape is an amazing comeback story: what you see here used to be covered in iceplant. Once all the iceplant was removed and carted away, the native plants came back on their own--bringing the rest of the ecosystem (land birds, rabbits, rodents, reptiles) with them.

This picturesque building, c. 1905, is known as the "fog signal building," which housed the equipment for a sound signal. As part of the restoration, it's going to be painted white as a faithful replica of the original. Plans also include restoring the upper levels of the lighthouse, see below.

There is a small gift shop in a separate building, plus displays of Indian artifacts found on site. This was a major center for the manufacture of arrowheads from chert. You can also see many tiny shell fragments on the ground beside the boardwalk nature trail.

Signs of present-day human habitation--I love the red union suit!

For more information about the tours, click here