Departed the beach and began heading up the coast. Based on what I’ve heard people say, I decided to stop in Morro Bay. I’m so glad I did. Morro Rock was covered in a blanket of fog that was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Walked around the shops a bit, and visited a really eclectic little shop run by a sweet lady named Heather. I also visited a skateboard museum in town. On the docks, I chatted with a fisherman named Don. We talked awhile about fishing and traveling. I thought he’d be a good person to ask about fish tacos for lunch. He told me to drive to the next town for his favorite place. Before doing so, I drove to the base of the Morro and met a local friend sitting on the rocks.
The recommendation to stop at Duckies in Cayucos was good advice.
I stopped very briefly at the Hearst Castle. After seeing the throngs of people, the over the top commercialization, and the screaming people, I decided that the two minute view from the observation deck was more than enough for this trip. I’ll return when I’m in a walker some day.
Highway One was something I had been looking forward to since planning this trip. It may come as no surprise, but I thoroughly enjoy driving. Add twists and turns, beautiful scenery, a cool ocean breeze that necessitates window down driving, it simply can’t get any better. Along the drive, I saw elephant seals, eagles, and even a condor! Had I not been on a tight curve with cars all around, I would have stopped to snap a photo. As a child, I has visited the Wild Animal Park where the conservation efforts were centered. To see one freely soaring over the cliffs with its massive wingspan is certainly a highlight.
As I got closer to my campground, I stopped at another state park. The walk to the waterfall overlook wasn’t long, and I secretly wished it required more effort to see the view.
I pulled into my campground around 5. After setting up camp and cooking dinner, I decided to relax amongst the redwoods that my site was nestled between. I spent the evening reading, which I love to do. (Sadly, I don’t get to read as much during the school year, as I’m often exhausted at night.)
The following morning, I got up early to beat the crowds to a local beach with amazing views. The road is a two-directional one lane road that runs for two miles. The entire time driving down, I thought about the cars I would pass on the way back up. (I didn’t pass a single car on my return trip.) The morning was beautiful. I had read that the winds can be so strong that visiting is nearly impossible. Luckily, only a gentle breeze accompanied me that morning. I was the only person there for about thirty minutes, then others arrived. A father and son carried their surfboards towards to insane waves. (Yikes. There were a few times when I held my breath to make sure they would surface.) I spoke with a nice couple from the Philly suburbs who happen to live a town or two over from where my friend Lisa lives. After being on the beach for an hour and a half, I began my exploration of the coast.
My first stop after the beach was in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Every time I have heard someone mention Carmel, they mention how much they love it. I can see why. I walked around the shops, and down to the ocean where I saw sea lions swimming along the shore. There was a cute little French cafe where I had lunch. Overall, a short, but sweet, visit.
I paid my $10 toll to drive along the 17 Mile Drive. Must be nice to afford some of those homes. I stopped to walk around the Pebble Beach golf course. I’m not a golfer, but I could see why this course is so famous.
As I continued along the drive, I stopped at various points to take in the views and to take photos. The crashing waves were my favorite.
Pacific Grove was a nice stop. Grabbed a coffee, strolled along the town, and even spotted a unicorn. (There was some sort of a festival going on. I saw two kids in full monkey costumes walking with their mother.)
Drove the 30+ miles to return to camp. After eating, I decided to take an early evening hike to a waterfall. The two mile out-and-back trail was good exercise, as I haven’t hiked in a week after non-stop hiking. (A little appetizer for my 16-mile hike tomorrow morning.) Two baby deer jumped in front of me on the trail.
Drove through the fog on my new favorite road. I walked around Cannery Row in Monterey while waiting for the aquarium to open. I spent about three and a half hours exploring the famous aquarium. My favorite part was watching the feeding in the Open Ocean. After that, the crowds were getting to be too much. Ate at Bubba Gump’s & grabbed Pinkberry for the road. Headed towards Yosemite.
I had planned on updating the blog and doing laundry last night at the KOA, but neither were working. So I hit the road early this morning to do both in the park. As I’ve been out of the loop, I hadn’t realized that Yosemite has been dealing with major fires this past week. One of the main roads into the park is currently closed. (Mine was open.) There is a smoky haze throughout the park. Every employee that I’ve seen this morning is talking about it. Fires are an essential part of regeneration, but it sounds like this is worse than usual. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to my first visit here, and my hike tomorrow. I’ll update again at that point.
Big Sur was stunning.
I started and finished The Fault in Our Stars in the last few days. It has been on my “to read” list for many months now, but I decided to save it for the trip. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters very much. I always find the connection one could have to fictional people remarkable. Definitely not an easy read in terms of emotions, but one that I highly recommend.