It's been getting pretty warm here on Pine Flat Lake where our two month volunteer gig is winding down, so we decided to take a mini excursion over to the coast. We loaded up the HHR with our tent and camping gear and headed to the Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur area - about a four hour drive due west.
We arrived in Monterey just as the morning fog was burning off, but our first 'real view' of the Pacific was a little further south near Carmel. We screeched off the side of the road and stood there mesmerized by the Caribbean colored water crashing on the rocks below us.
|The Powerful Pacific|
Whoa! What a sight! It was definitely cooler here and the salt air filling our lungs was something we hadn't experienced since Alabama and Florida. This wasn't the Gulf Coast, though. This is the mighty Pacific Ocean!
We found a campsite in a forest service campground up an eight mile twisting, narrow road that took us from sea level to 2,000' elevation at Bottcher's Gap.
|Bottcher's Gap Campground|
It was a small ten (10) site campground with a camp manager that had been there since 1983! That's correct. Thirty-three (33) years taking care of that campground. I'd say he likes it there.
We spent the next couple of days experiencing the California coast. So many scenic spots and some of the cliffs overlooking the ocean seemed like gardens of wildflowers.
|Colorful Natural Beach Garden|
|Garden by the Sea|
Just staring at the Pacific is way better than watching TV. It's the Ocean Channel.
We checked out Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey.
|Famous Old Fisherman's Wharf|
Besides the shops and eateries, they were filming an HBO movie with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. We didn't see either one of them and actually didn't see much of anything happening on the set other than lots of security and the whole area roped off from the public.
We stopped at Pfieffer Beach on an incredibly windy day.. I'm talking hats blowing off, stinging sand, almost knock you down windy day! Although it was quite scenic, we didn't spend much time there because we were getting sandblasted!
|Windy Pfieffer Beach|
One place we really enjoyed was Point Lobos State Reserve.
We spent parts of two (2) days hiking the trails to see Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, various Sea Birds and just awesome coastal views.
|View along Coastal Hike|
Also within the Reserve was an old Whaler's Cabin. There is a fascinating history behind this cabin and there were Rangers there to tell you a bit of the story.
|Whaler's Cabin Register|
Whale bones lie to the left of the cabin, where you can personally see the gigantic size and let your
imagination run wild to envision what it must have been like to hunt and capture such a magnificent creature.
Our mini trip to the cooler Pacific was just a hint of things to come, as we'll soon be spending time along the Oregon and Washington coasts. And just in time, too. The forecast high temp here at Pine Flat Lake for the days immediately after we leave is for around 106-109 degrees. YIKES!