It’s early morning, shortly after sunrise. The Bowman campground is full, but few people are up yet, or even stirring. I walk from the parking lot to the CCC shelter, admiring the way the shelter blends into the landscape like it grew out of the earth. Behind the shelter the Bowman to Rosario trail begins, beckoning like an open door, a hallway between the campsites and the log-strewn beach.
As I began walking westward, I met an elderly couple out walking their dogs, or rather, stretching their legs while carrying their dogs. The woman apologized for the dog she carried, saying that it just wasn’t ready for morning yet. I wondered if coffee would help.
Around the corner a dad and daughter sat in lawn chairs between the trail and the beach. They sipped on hot drinks in mugs and looked totally contented as they looked seaward on this heavenly blue-sky morning now touched with a wisp of light fog in the trees.
Soon I left the tents and RVs behind as the trail began to rise quickly, steeply, a root and rock-strewn pathway leading upward and westward. As the trail hugs the edge of the bluff, the view of Bowman Bay opens up dramatically, especially with the morning sun streaming through the trees, a great blue heron looking for breakfast, and a gaggle of otters cavorting and teasing and rolling and diving and spyhopping their way towards me. It seems no matter what they are doing, otters turn it into play. Whether hunting or relaxing or saying hello or just traveling through, it’s all for fun.
The trail climbs steadily to its highest point along the bluff, then drops down gradually to reach Rosario. The soil is dry here. The late summer sunlight is now lower in the sky and riding a shorter course to get to its time of setting. Leaves are changing. The plants know their time is short, and they are preparing for the coming autumn season. Golden leaves lie scattered across the trail and forest duff.
Almost to Rosario now, I carefully follow the social trails near the bluff’s edge instead of the main trail, enjoying the elevated view out over Bowman, and now Rosario Head coming into view. A bench near here honors Tara, a teenager who loved life and enjoyed this view while she lived, her time on earth shorter than most.
One of my favorite trees in all the park appeared, standing out on a promontory as if posing in a yoga stretch, wrapping its arms around itself, embracing the winds that caress and torment it every day.
Back on the main trail, I finish the descent to the Rosario area, passing the Discovery Center, closed at this time to keep people safe.
I walked up to the Maiden and looked into her wide-open eyes, her faces looking both toward the tidepools and toward Bowman Bay, as a younger teenager and then as a mature woman. She once saw the sea as simply a storehouse of food, abundant and free for the taking. Her husband of the sea opened her eyes to the lifelong dance of all living things, connected and dependent on each other to continue that life of abundance. She became a partner with the sea, and in turn the sea became an integral, essential, relational partner with her tribal members and tribal life.
Her time with the tribe was short, but then again, it continues to this day. Her hair floated in the water nearby, long kelp tubes nearing the end of their lives, soon to wash ashore on nearby beaches to sustain life further in their death.
It is time for me to return back to Bowman Bay. I take the main trail back, rising slowly to the mid-point and then dropping down quickly to a campground now coming alive, rising and shining.
A new day has dawned.