Teri Shore, our North Bay Regional Director, shares her experience tracking a bobcat and tips for visiting Bodega Bay—even in the rain.
We arrived in a downpour, so we walked with umbrellas and rain pants into the grassy flats below the Bodega Dunes. Starting from an unsigned pull-out opposite Spud’s Landing on the bay, the six of us from a women’s tracking club ventured out in search of whatever we might find.
Immediately we discovered old badger digs, some sort of puffball mushrooms past their prime, and fresh bobcat scat. Soon the rain eased and a rainbow curved across the clearing sky.
On most weekends, Bodega Bay is bustling with people watching waves and whales from Bodega Head or running dogs at Doran Beach. But with rain and the current social distancing protocols, we were among the few around.
Badgers usually commandeer a gopher or mouse hole and continue digging to make a burrow.
We didn’t follow the popular trails along the bluffs or along the beach, though those are always spectacular. Instead we bushwhacked tenderly through untamed sections of the landscape, taking great strides not to disturb the local wildlife.
Whether you stay on the paths or trek further out, Bodega Bay is a gem worth exploring any day of the year.
On this wintry day in mid-March, we followed a bobcat’s trail into a stand of cypress and eucalyptus trees. To enter, we bent down and pushed through dead branches and stepped over logs and thick layers of leaves.
Then someone spotted a pair of slender trees where bobcats had sharpened their claws. The scratches reached well above our heads! I tried to imagine a feisty feline climbing and jumping up and down the trunks. We never saw the bobcat, but had a feeling it was probably watching us.
Pro Tip: Take windproof and waterproof layers.
Later up on the dune, we saw ducks emerge from the reeds to swim on a small pond below us and turkey vultures rising above as the sun came out. Then a sudden crash, bam, boom startled us! A tree fell in the stand of cypress and eucalyptus trees we were just exploring. When our heart rates returned to normal we all agreed—while it’s risky to go off the beaten path, it’s also more exciting.
Location Map: Bodega Bay, CA Sonoma County
- Teri and her crew are experienced trackers who are both mindful of and respectful of the delicate environment they traverse through. For less experienced hikers, it’s best to stick to the gorgeous views offered by the main trails.
- Wild animals do live in and travel through this area. Hike safely and be mindful of their habitat.
Here’s another great resource to learn more about the natural world of Bodega Bay.