Point Lobos State Reserve

We woke up in Salinas on Monday, and I walked out of the hotel room to a sight I had not entirely expected. Rows and rows of tilled dirt.

The view out the Motel 6 hotel room in Salinas, California

Reminded me of the first morning I woke up in Africa, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I had arrived late at night and hadn’t looked at a map before I left, so I had no idea what to expect. This is what I saw.

Our tentative destination for the day was Point Lobos State Reserve on the coast just south of Monterey. At this point I should credit the inspiration for these destinations to Marcus (cousin Christy’s partner) who described both Pinnacles and Point Lobos as two of his favorite places in California.

Our drive to Point Lobos took us over some mountains and into Carmel, and when we finally saw the ocean for the first time (this trip), its captivating blueness forced us to pull over, take our shoes off, and tromp around in the sand.

View of the Pacific from Carmel River State Beach in California
The view from Carmel River State Beach

Stephanie said it reminded her of the Mediterranean—which was unusual because the Pacific doesn’t often appear with so deep and bright a shade of blue. It made her very happy.

View toward Carmel from Carmel River State Beach
Looking toward Carmel

We got to Point Lobos, which was packed, but managed to snag a parking spot along the road just in front of entrance. We purchased a map at the entrance station, and hit the first trail we saw towards Whalers Cove.

Point Lobos State Reserve Trail Map
Point Lobos State Reserve trails, with our hike highlighted in yellow
Whaler's Cove at Point Lobos State Reserve
Whalers Cove
Great Blue Heron in Whalers Cove at Point Lobos State Reserve
Great Blue Heron
Looking out across Bluefish Cove at Point Lobos State Reserve
Bluefish Cove
Cannery Point from across Bluefish Cove at Point Lobos State Reserve
Looking back toward Cannery Point
South Shore of Point Lobos State Reserve
South Shore

By the end of the hike, it was around 2 and we were starving, having had a gas station breakfast hours earlier of granola bars and juice. I don’t think we’d planned to cover the whole park, but each segment of the hike was deceptively short. I kept saying “Oh, we’re here already, let’s go a little further!”

Eventually we headed back towards the entrance, carefully avoiding the copious poision oak that was all over the park. So far I’m clean—but I’m kind of afraid to wear the jeans I had on that day.

We took off toward Monterey in search of food, both of us near starvation, but nobly withstanding the urge to settle for fast food. Eventually we got to the tourist heart of Monterey where we found an upscale albeit touristy restaurant called the Fish Hopper—redeemed by the tremendous view on all sides.

We gorged, Stephanie on a penne pasta alfredo with dungeness crab, me on a macademia-encrusted tilapia with ginger lime sauce and mango relish. Mmm. All that with a bottle of local sauvignon blanc (2003 Morgan). And a grilled artichoke. And a chocolate carmel mousse.

Other than the long drive home along the coast as the sun set, that brings last weekend’s adventure to an end.

3 Comments

jackie

life is sounding more and more like a travel magazine, eh, j? not jealous at all.

Though I realize it’s hard to get to California, “all this can be yours” when you get the chance to visit.

Of course everything looks better in photos in blog posts. Just remember I spend 40 hours a week sitting in front of a computer at work, and many more not at work. That of course doesn’t make for very interesting writing, or reading, so it tends to get de-emphasized here.

Come to think of it, if someone was willing to pay my expenses to travel where ever I wanted and take pictures and write about my experiences, I might take them up on it. At least for a little while. I wonder what it’d be like to live unsalaried and just “all expenses paid” for a year?

justin, gorgeous pix, as ever. That picture of Bluefish Cove makes me want to dive right in. Happy travels!

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