Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pt. Lobos Continued

The  Lace Lichen trail crosses the main road right where the map said it would putting me back on the Volksmarch route.

It is through the forest,  parallel to the main road so I could hear cars in the distance.  Soon I passed the Entrance station and shortly was back to the coast.  At the next fork my car was to the left, but the rest of the Volksmarch is to the right.  Besides I didn't want to miss Moss Cove.   Much of the trail along the coast is lush vegetation, unfortunately probably 75% Poison Ivy (Oak in Tuolumne County).

Near the Cove I met a docent who was chopping Wild Mustard.  It seemed like a lost cause, but there was a method to his madness.  While it would be impossible to irradiate all the noxious weeds,  he explained that it is worthwhile to hoe them from around the native plants.  Good stuff!

Headed back towards my car now,  the Whaler's Cabin was in the distance.  This is a long shot, but I didn't get another chance due to people walking in and out.

It's a great little museum with many old photographs documenting the whaling period;  then the abalone harvest after the whales were gone.  At least the whales are back, not so much for the abalone!

Yet another docent gave me a heads up about a baby seal near the parking area.  It's the tiny white dot on the lower right side of the little rock.  Never did see mama.

Finally back to my car,  it was time to find a place for a picnic.  How hard could that be?  Well, have to say the parking lot at the end of the South Shore road with tables and restrooms was packed!  But I had seen a wide spot about a quarter mile back.  Yes!  Hidden Beach!  I lost the hiking boots, grabbed my lunch and headed down the stairs to a beach of tiny polished rocks.  

On previous visits to Pt Lobos, the tides pools along the South Shore were a top priority.  The Volksmarch route got me started on the North Shore trail instead making for a very challenging and fun day of hiking.

Volksmarch #2 - Pt. Lobos, CA

I set out early on Wednesday hoping to beat the people into Pt Lobos State Reserve, but when I arrived at the Whaler's Cove parking there was only one spot left for me!  Wow,  didn't really expect that.   No worries, most people were either diving or visiting the Whaler's Cabin.  The trail went straight up from the parking area and then to a fork that offered either the Whaler's Knoll or the North Shore.

This Volksmarch is only a 5K and make a loop over the Whaler's Knoll.  I knew I wanted to do the whole trail, so continued on the North Shore route intending to pick up the Volksmarch on the other side.

At another overlook hikers are warned to be quiet:  it's a Harbor Seal birthing area.  No pups yet today.

Temperatures in the low 60s were just right for hiking along the cliffs.  

And enjoying the amazing views back across the bay.

At the next fork in the trail I continued out to North Point.  The trail got a bit busier now as there is a parking area near-by.  Sometimes I forget I'm not in Texas and also that some people don't appreciate Nature's subtle beauty,  so when I got all excited telling a couple about the swirls in the trunk of old cypress tree at the point they looked at me like I was a crazy woman.  Oh well, they missed a great shot with that fancy camera.  But you get to see it......

On up the trail there is a strange phenomenon of red algae growing on the trees and rocks.  The docent at the trail head told me it only grows here because the air is absolutely pristine, and not to worry it wasn't killing the trees or the rocks!

From here on the trail becomes one continuous post card;  other people have words to describe this kind of beauty, but not me.  These shots are to wet your appetite for a visit to Pt Lobos,  it's so worth it!

Back to the parking area,  I picked up the trail for the Volksmarch route and will continue that in the next post!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Volksmarch #1 - Historic Monterey

Several years ago I heard about Volksmarch (people's walk) and recently I met a fellow blogger, Travel Bug Sue, who has been doing Volksmarches for most of 15 (!) years.  My interest was piqued!  So,  I really, really wanted to go to Monterey before my return to Texas and I really, really wanted to do a Volksmarch.  Happy serendipity,  turns out there are several Volksmarches in the Monterey area!  

I found the starting point for the walk in a store near the Wharf without much trouble, got my map and was on my way.  Uh oh, off to a rough start as many of these walks are in urban areas, and shortly I found myself at a very busy four way stop.  On my own I would have probably turned around right here and headed for the hills!  To make it worse, a huge bus came flying by and then an ambulance going code 3!   Oh yeah, there were lights, but I was still scared to death!

Finally I got across the road and continued up the hill.  This was a new part of town to me and the location of the Monterey Peninsula College.  A trail off the street leading down to the Forum Bridge was not on my route, but I had to check it out anyway and found this wonderful old tree.

On past the college into the Iris Canyon Greenbelt there was a collection of cars parked along the road.  I asked a guy what was interesting here, and he said nothing, we park here to avoid the parking fees at the college!  It was a hot day for Monterey, not much shade in this area.

Next up was the Museum at the edge of a beautiful old residential area.

The walk instructions were easy to follow, but another uh oh, PG&E had a street closed.  I could see pretty gardens and thought surely I could get past the workers since I was walking.

Nope, couldn't get past the truck, so back up the hill and making a LONG detour!

Back on track, the Virgin Mary was waiting for me...... the San Carlos Church (the former Royal Presidio Chapel and the oldest building in Monterey).

I had to chuckle at the paradox,  just down the street (and only slightly off my Volksmarch route) was a Trader Joe's and, hallelujah, a Peet's Coffee.  My water had run out a couple miles ago; did I mention it was HOT for Monterey?

One more stop before Peet's at the Robert Lewis Stevenson House.  No time to tour inside, but I did enjoy the beautiful walled garden.

Fortified with iced coffee walking along downtown streets, I was soon at the Monterey Institute and then Bernie's old apartment building!  How fun!

Taking extra time again, I visited the State Park gardens.

The 10K route is not meant to take 3 hours!  My meter at the Wharf was no doubt close to running out, so I hurried back to the Rav.  Arriving at Borg's in Pacific Grove a sail boat was just passing Lover's Point.   

The Volksmarch was really fun; I'm looking forward to doing more!

(Note:  There are four walks in this area:  The Historic Monterey and Lover's Point, both with same start near the Wharf;  one in Carmel; and another at Pt Lobos).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy 16th (?!?!) Birthday

Grandma Linda cooked for days, and family arrived from far and wide for a gorgeous day at Melones (if a little windy :) to celebrate Super Nephew S's 16th birthday!

Super nephews S and G, with friend T, slowed down just long enough for a pic.  No kites, but the Frisbee took crazy flight several times.

Grandma Jean with S and G.

Great Grandpa Frank and Grandma Jeanne enjoyed the sunshine.

It only took a glance at the box for S to know it was the cell phone he wanted!

But there was more.....the SIM card.....

Oh yeah, S had a happy birthday,  and yes, he did put the new phone down long enough to go for a swim in Melones with his buddies!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First Visit to Disneyland

Folks never believed me when I said, "Nope, never been to Disneyland!".  It was true,  I was the only native Californian in the whole state that had NEVER been to Disneyland.   But no more!  Friend R took pity on me and now I'm a Mouseketeer too!

Monday night we checked into our motel and set off to explore Downtown Disney.  So exciting with all the lights, music and people, people, people everywhere!  Got this shot of the Lego dragon the next day when the sun was shining.

All day Tuesday we explored California Adventures. Then returned that night for the Wonderful World of Color.


Wednesday it was time to see Disneyland!  WOW, just WOW!  (Well, no, I didn't ride the Matterhorn.)

But the Monorail was really cool! 

Mickey Mouse was busy rehearsing his show in the new Fantasy Land Theatre so we didn't see him, but had fun at the Darth Vader show.

Too soon it was time to hit I 5 back to Fresno and the real world.