The arid landscape that you often find in California is raised up in both beauty and comfort by the Pacific Coast. While you hike, it is hot and dry and sometimes dusty. But here in Point Lobos State Reserve, you feel the ocean breezes and your eyes feast upon the soothing sight of crashing waves. The coast line, pleasingly irregular, hides a new view behind every incline and bend in the path. Just keep walking.
One Secluded Tiny Beach
Hiking Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel, California, I found this petite private beach. Of course, these public lands are open to everyone, but this tiny secluded patch of sand nestled between the rugged rocks and surrounded by Nature made me feel as though I were on a deserted island.
Don’t you love to get away from crowds, traffic, noise and stores at this time of year?
Meet the Avocet
I met an avocet for the first time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. These birds sometimes live on the south east shores of the United States, but they are more common on East Texas coast and in California. I was captivated by the unique thin beak curving up. The bird is about 16″ tall and slender with delicate legs and beak. If you find it feeding in the wild, you will see it wading along the shore and in marshes, sweeping for little insects and other edible creatures.
While American avocets display a rust colored neck during breeding season, this one was purely grey and white.
Have you seen this bird? Where?
Big Sur’s Stepping Stones
Just off the coast of Big Sur, these offshore boulders reminded me of stepping stones, but you’d have to be a giant to walk on them. As the surf crashes and surrounds them with white foam, your eye is drawn out to the largest one and follows the more distant line of boulders back to shore up north. The highlights in the clouds echo the highlights in the surf. What a day to test my new Sony Zeiss 16-35mm lens!
It would be challenging to spot a humpback whale in these waters, but they are out there. The whales have been spotted frequently just north of here in Monterey Bay.
What the Cypress Says
If you think this tangle of cypress trees in Monterey are shaped by a strong coastal wind, you would be half right. The wind was not blowing at the time I took this photograph. But surely, the wind makes a habit of blowing off the Pacific and has shaped these trees over time.
This image invites me to ponder: how much am I shaped by my everyday environment? In what ways are you shaped by your world?
Iconic Big Sur
Some days you are just plain lucky, and the Pacific coast fog takes a day off. The day we drove south of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea was a special sunny day. As we looked south toward the bridge, we could see for miles along the rocky Pacific coast.
Stay tuned to this blog to see more photographs of the beautiful California coast from my recent trip. I will share lots of ideas to help you plan your next trip.