An Overcast Walk Around Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

December 8th, 2014. Categories / Bay Area

In the past two weeks, much needed rain has come to California. Sidewalks are covered in damp leaves and the streets are littered with grey, papery overflow from clogged storm drains. The rain has knocked out power, opened sinkholes, and closed schools.

With nowhere I’m obligated to go during the week, I find myself turning into a scruffy and smelly recluse.

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Spotlight.
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Fog Horn.
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A break in the clouds.
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Sink hole filler.
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Just your average neighborhood sinkhole.
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A Sunday brunch of short ribs, egg, and vegetables.
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A snack platter.
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Beautiful garbage.

Over the weekend, J and I rented a car and drove south along the coast to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Point Lobos contains a number of hiking trails, many next to the ocean, and a smaller number of beaches. It is the site of a historic marine reserve, a museum on whaling, and includes a historic building once used by area fishermen. It is considered by jewelry appraisers to be the crown jewel of the California state park system.

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Satellite view of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

The sky was mostly cloudy, though luckily without rain. The often crystal blue waters of Monterrey/Big Sur were less saturated. We disregarded a lot full sign and parked in one of the numerous spaces at the Whaler’s Cove parking lot. A large group of divers were washing their equipment, having already enjoyed the unspoiled beauty underwater.

J and I walked around Whaler’s Cove along Granite Point Trail to check out the seals sunning themselves on the rocks, The Pit (another cove), and Granite Point. We returned, ate some snacks, and then took the North Shore Trail westward. We passed numerous little coves littered with natural debris from the recent storms. Fishing birds used driftwood as boats.

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Diving class in Whaler’s Cove.
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Well, it was a good life.
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Sleepy gulls.
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Whaler’s Cove.
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Trees.
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Button mushrooms were everywhere.
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A shady trail.
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Massive cyprus.
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Granite Point Trail.
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Looking down at a fat seal looking up at a fat me.
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Succulents clinging to the rocks.
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A view from The Pit.
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There’s a church hidden in these hills.
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J descending into The Pit.
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Seaweed assortment.
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A perfect bed of rounded rocks.
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Turkey vulture hovering on the updrafts.
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Looking down at the Pacific from Granite Point.
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Father Nature.
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J and her new camera.
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Trail.
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Boulders near Cannery Point.
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Fields of poison oak.
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A furtive view into Bluefish Cove.
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Loner.
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An epic view.
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Branch railing.

Daylight was fading fast, so we circled back up Whaler’s Knoll, got the car and drove to the Sea Lion Point trailhead. Along the way, we passed an army of Chinese tourists. One of them asked me which way to the ocean, and I replied that the ocean was in three directions. I was no expert on the park, but I felt embarrassed for not offering concrete advice. The man seemed embarrassed for being lost and asking for help. I’ve been there, but with a far worse grasp of the local language.

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Spanish moss.
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A view from the moss infested Whaler’s Knoll.
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Wind damage.
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Mossy trail down the knoll.
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Me.
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J.
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A perfect city of mushrooms.
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South Point.
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Sea Lion Point Trail.
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Rock monster.
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A mountain of natural concrete.
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Now that’s what I call sedimentary rock! Volume 2.
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Looking back from Sea Lion Cove.
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Gnats.
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Sea Lion Rocks live up to their name.

Numerous sea lions barked and tussled on the rocks off shore.

The rocky point was an alien landscape of weathered and irregular formations of natural concrete.

J and I ate some more snacks and started researching where to go for dinner and where to stay for the night. None of the options were all that appealing, considering we had to get up early to return the car. So after watching the sunset, we decided to get dinner at Mission Ranch in Carmel and drive home.

We ate our massive dinner on the back porch overlooking the Carmel River estuary. The sun had set and the cold air worked its way between the heat lamps.

A frog croaked nearby. Sheep shuffled their way into the barn. Clint Eastwood was nowhere to be seen.

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Triple bulb dangle lights.
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The back porch of Mission Ranch.

I feel lucky to have such beautiful scenery nearby. Like childhood or a good plate of snacks, I’m not even done and I’m already missing it.