Secret Beach

Wait…what beach?

For THE LAST TIME people…I can’t tell you. It’s a secret!

A secret to me and the 5,000 other people that know about it. If you are an embedded San Francisco resident, chances are you know about it too. I am only secretive about it because the long time Bay Area residents who clued me in cherish this sacred spot as a last vestige of rough and wild and off the beaten path. I don’t want to list location on the internet since I’d like to avoid advertising to tourists. Of course, if you, my dear reader, are coming to town as a tourist, and you would like directions….just contact me!

Yesterday Fern and I took a foggy, late morning walk down into the dunes that must be traversed before you reach the waters edge. There are many trails, with twists and turns revealing hobbit holes and delicious campfire sites and a hidden, multi-level tree house fortress. We only went a little ways in, but there was still plenty to explore.

There are edibles and herbs scattered amongst the dunes, the first of which being two species of mallow. All parts of mallow are edible/useful, but it’s the young leaves that are the easiest to consume. In salad, of course! If you are a Bay Arean, you may have seen this cutie in tree wells and wondered what it was:

This looks similar to Little Mallow, or Cheeseweed…except it gets quite tall. I’m not positive what specific mallow it is.

You. Shall Not. Pass. 


What’s this? It’s just the right size for an Elfea.

The bare trunk and branches underneath the canopy impart a sense of stepping beneath the skirt of a giantess.

Time to dance!

Another enclosed spot off the trail, with a fire pit and makeshift lounge.

Dear Unfortunately Homeless and/or Sketchy Junkies,

Kindly tidy up your bedding, snack wrappers, hypodermic needles and toilet paper in wilderness common spaces. Thanks.

Even Fern, who is usually magnetized towards all things dirty, spiderwebby and detritus-filled was stopped in her tracks before the entrance and waved her hand at the creepy space saying “No. No.”

If your name was Susan or Lucy, wouldn’t you think this looked quite a bit like Aslan’s stone table? (Yes, I am STILL trying to find my way into Narnia, thank you very much.).

Lots of little wild Chamomile.

And a field of Horsetail. Horsetail contains high amounts of silica and is great internally and externally as a tea for shiny, healthy hair, and can be taken to mend bones and strengthen nails. Use sparingly internally since the silica can be rough on the stomach and other organs.

I was stopped in my track by this scene. 2-3 foot tall bouquets of yellow flowers, new to my eyes. What could they be?

I emailed Rachel at 6512 and Growing for help with identification, since she had offered her generous genius on her blog. I was like “I’m stumped! I can’t find it anywhere! It must be non-native! But I know you’re busy so take your time figuring it out….”.

Rachel wrote back immediately with “Darling, that’s Evening Primrose!”.

I had initially wondered if it was, but I had no idea it was So Tall! Isn’t that an amazing flower? I don’t know how to harvest it, but the seeds are high in Omegas and I took the oil during my last trimester to aid in softening my cervix. Which may be one of the reasons my labor was like an express train.

And with that folks, we are finally off on vacation! We’ve had a big change of plans and are no longer headed to Palm Springs, but instead will be going up to Shasta County…again! Hooray! This may be my last summer in our home, so I am eager to drink it all in and carve the memories on my bones. I may not be able to blog at all for the next week or so, but will return online after the 15th for a few days, and then I’m off again to Colorado! I’ll be checking in and look forward to being in touch.


8 thoughts on “Secret Beach

  1. When I was a kid, we had evening primroses in the back yard. We would go out to watch them bloom in the evenings. (The blooms open at sunset and close in the morning.) Thank you for reminding me! And have fun up north! 🙂

  2. What a wonderful thing, a secret beach! That forest looks wonderful, and shame on those junkies for leaving such a mess! The pics of those trees make me want to climb them. I wish I could find wild growing horsetail, as I refuse to consume gelatin and NEED a good hair/skin/nails supplement (I’ve heard that horsetail is best for it. To use EXTERNALLY would you make it into a wash for your hair and skin?) Have fun on vacation and thanks for sharing these pics!

  3. My goodness, do I know how you feel about your secret. Only, imagine if the NY times listed your beach on the top 10 beaches to visit in the world. That’s more or less happened to a place here on the Island most folk hold sacred. Good thing its still ours in the cold rainy months. You just hold your secret close to your heart my dear.

    Happy travels. Just maybe when you come back I might have gotten my act together with some package action. I’m notoriously slow in these matters. Ask anyone.

    Lots of love and light and forest delights.

  4. that is super funny about the evening primrose. it grows wild on the roadside around here, i’m also interested in what i should do to make use of it. for this season i just grabbed some seeds last fall and planted some in pots at home, it’s so pretty, so i’m looking forward to it blooming. i’ve been enjoying all your recent posts, now that i’m back from sea- all of them have been wonderful! i was totally able to picture you in cafe du soleil, i used to frequent it but had many an eye rolling experience in there as well. 😉 happy vacation to you!!!

  5. Okay, okay, okay. I actually know what the plant in that first photo is! We have it here: it’s called ebegümeci. I think the scientific name of our variety is Malva vulgaris, and it’s just a kind of mallow. It’s not ready now (too late), but I like to pick them in the early-mid spring, before they flower. So delicious! And, I’m so excited to see that you have many plants similar to ours here. I suppose the climate here is similar to S. Cali, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

  6. I came across a flower that looked like your photos of evening primrose this weekend. We were in the local socal mountains and had spotty Internet connection. When I got a chance to pull up this post and compare it to the flowers that I saw I was excited to see that your evening primrose was surrounded by wild chamomile just like mine!!! I was happy to pick a few stalks of the chamomile, after asking the plants permission!

    I really enjoy your blog.

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