Cow at Pt. Reyes | Mark Lindsay

Every hike introduces one to new friends. Yesterday, on a hike at Point Reyes National Seashore there were few people to be found, only a cold fog that had settled in the night before. Our hike took us to a high mound of hill where we were to meet our only companions of the day; a herd of dairy cows.

The cows must have sensed our approach. They started making noise while we were still several hundred feet away. Each cow had her own distinct moo, none of which actually sounded like, "moo." It was more like "meh!" and "bleh!" or "uh-oooh!" and "uuuuuhh!" It was stunning originality, given the limitations of the genre. Like finely-tuned orchestral instruments during the warm-up before a concert, the cacophony was startling. Unlike an orchestra, the band never quite got into rhythm. Yet, they seemed to like hearing themselves—once they started it seemed impossible for them to stop.

The animals were in a large pen and perhaps that was the issue. The grass seemed fine for grazing, emerald-green from a month of rain. And here they were, trapped in the slop of a pen. Uh-ooh, indeed. If I were in a pen with a hundred other humans you bet I'd be mooing.

For miles we could hear them. Once we'd gotten them started they went on and on and on. We could hear their echos long after they disappeared behind another hill. Maybe mooing keeps them warm because after a couple more miles the cold started to get colder. Not able to moo ourselves, we were getting chilled and turned back. Upon our return the cows seemed more at peace. Many were still huddled in the corral but now we saw many that were grazing among the hills. The relative quiet (an occasional moo was still offered forth) and pastoral quality of the scene were remarkably pleasing. Nothing seems more at peace than a plump cow in a field. Just as we walked by, one of our new friends decided to dip her hoof into the water and take a long drink. And with that, I was gifted with my blog photo of the day.