Saturday, May 16th, 2015
My long time friend Julie from the days when I was in a band had come up to visit and hang out with me this weekend to explore the coastline. We had gotten up and out on Saturday and started our way to Santa Cruz by way of the 17 Hwy.
Once we hit Santa Cruz, our journey would take us northbound on the PCH 1. The scenery started off with very little view of the ocean as most of the land west of the highway was covered in dense foliage and farmland, but eventually that strip of land became more narrow as we approached our first stop near Davenport.
Shark Fin Cove
“Cross over the railroad tracks and you will find the trail down to the cove”
“Upon arriving you will encounter a sign with many rules and warnings, basically just common sense stuff”
“This steel pipe marks the beginning of the mildly steep trail that takes you down to Shark Fin Cove”
“The last portion of the trail is lined with much vegetation”
“The first thing I noticed immediately was a tiny waterfall pouring out of a carved hole in the cliffside wall”
“Out of curiosity, I crawled in to see how far it went… It was dangerous for me to tread any further down this unsupported cave”
“A small back section of the cove is partially flooded with freshwater from the cave”
“The famous ‘Shark Fin’ at Shark Fin Cove”
“The slow, but powerful action of weathering on these cliffs shows it’s mark”
“The view of the coast from the tops of the cliffs surrounding the cove were amazing”
After spending what felt like an hour at this beautiful location, we hit the PCH northbound again toward Pigeon Point Lighthouse, another place that Julie wanted to visit. The view along the way was definitely pleasing and a very fresh experience for Julie as she had not been up this way before.
Before reaching the Lighthouse, we stopped at the Pigeon Point Bluffs. This area used to be small open off road area where you could literally pull up to the edge of the sea cliff, but it was too dangerous to have heavy vehicles parking so close to edge of these sea cliffs so although the area is still open to foot traffic, a barrier has been recently placed to prevent any future accidents. In the past I used to park the Starship at least 40ft from the edge of the cliffs as common sense would keep me from parking my 4.5 ton diesel too close to the edge here.
“I was in this area in April and this barrier did not exist which leads me to believe it was installed in May 2015”
“The view along the south shores from the bluff were very scenic in a gloomy way”
“The view of the lighthouse from the Pigeon Point Bluffs is pretty awesome still”
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, although still operational, has been fenced off for refurbishing. The 2,000lb Fresnel Lens housing that is used to amplify the power of the light has been removed and put on display in one of the buildings below. The current condition of the lighthouse is not safe for supporting the weight of the glass, so a substitute light source has been applied to the top.
The 115 foot lighthouse was constructed in 1871, lit in 1872, and finally automated in 1974. The entire structure is made of brick and set on a rock foundation. When it first became active, it used a refined pig fat oil to fuel the light source, but that was replaced in 1888 by a Kerosene fuel lamp. Later in 1926, the lighthouse was provided with electrical service which allowed for a 1,000 watt light to replace the old fuel burning lamp.
The curators of this lighthouse are taking donations to help fund the restoration of this iconic landmark. There is currently a wall that has empty slots for the names those to be placed who donate $1,000 dollars or more. I may just donate $1,000 myself because I love historic locations like this and want to do all in my power to contribute to the restoration and preservation of icons like this.
“The lighthouse is in poor shape aesthetically, but far worse shape structurally”
“A closer look at the top of the lighthouse reveals some of the structural fatigue via sever oxidation”
“Next to the lighthouse gift shop is a small building where the Fresnel Lens was placed after being removed from the lighthouse in 2007”
“The Fresnel Lens consists of 1,008 glass prisms which magnify a 1,000 watt bulb to 680,000 candle power, viewable up to 20 miles”
“To the left of the building that houses the Fresnel Lens is a small boardwalk that takes you to the most westerly part of Pigeon Point”
“The view from that point is quite a sight”
“The shores to the north of the Lighthouse were very beautiful”
“After a short visit to the lighthouse, we hit the PCH northbound yet again to the sleepy town of Pescadero”
After spending much of the day along the coastline, it was time to come inland just a bit to the small town of Pescadero. This place is definitely one of those small gems that’s tucked away in the grassy hills near the coastline. I have been here a few times before and i have two stops here that are always a certainty, Arcangeli Grocery Co. and Duarte’s Tavern.
There used to be a fresh fruit and honey stand here, but they vanished in 2014. There are plenty of other great places to check out here such as pizza and sandwiches at the Pescadero County Store which has a nice open yard with picnic tables and live music on occasion and of course there is the Downtown Local which is a hip little coffee shop complete with a nine seat mini theatre inside playing old cinema classics projected onto the wall.
“The town of Pescadero has a downtown area less than a quarter mile and only the first 650ft off Pescadero Creek Road are actual shops”
“We put down our names on the 25 minute waiting list for Duarte’s Tavern and headed down the street to Arcangeli’s for some of their fresh garlic artichoke bread”
“Apparently this shop has a few trades up their sleeve’s besides being known for their bread”
“As usual the bread was fresh and very warm to the touch, so I snagged a few loaves for later”
“Our 25 minutes was almost up and so we hustled back to Duarte’s for our much anticipated lunch”
Duarte’s Tavern was once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives many years ago and one of the featured menu items was their artichoke soup, It is served with fresh, hot sourdough bread in a basket. Among some other dishes that they are known for it’s amazing crab cioppino and abalone sandwich. What I found to be a local favorite was their Olalieberry Pie which I very highly rank as one of the best pies I have ever had. I know of nowhere else that serves this flavor, but damn it’s good!
Duarte’s Tavern is a bar-turned-restaurant which has been around for over a century, established in 1894 by Frank Duarte, this place was a place where friends could meet and have great time. The tavern was almost destroyed when a huge fire ripped through the town. The tavern had started to offer food and the Duarte family began to experiment in the kitchen. Frank’s wife Emma Duarte began the tavern’s pie making tradition in the 1930’s and eventually the 1960’s, Frank’s grandson Ron Duarte and his wife Lynn created the now popular Cream of Artichoke soup that the establishment is known for today.
The artichokes as well as the onions, leeks, variety of beans and peas, lettuce, squash, chard, fennel, herbs, olallieberries and strawberries are all cultivated from Duarte’s vegetable garden just behind the restaurant. The three full-time gardeners grow Ron Duarte’s pick of ingredients used in many of the dishes that they serve.
“The famous Cream of Artichoke soup”
“We ordered a shrimp salad which was very tasty, we wanted something light for the hike we wanted to get in at Skyline Ridge later”
“After a most delicious lunch, we set off on the highway one last time for one last venture into the encroaching sea fog”
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, CA
This is one of my favorite places for scenery and although the hike here is not very long or challenging, it can definitely be a visual orgy of vast natural beauty on a clear sunset evening. Today however would be my first time experiencing Skyline with a dense sea fog rolling in, but I loved every minute of it. I have always said that dynamic weather is my favorite weather for photography.
“After parking, I had to get a shot of my latest Route 66 sticker and friends”
“The trail looked so different from all the time I had visited before, but it was very intriguing”
“Just below to the left of the trail, the valley was filling with more of that cloud soup”
“Typically from this point, you could see the expansive valley and scenery below, but it just looked like a massive cliff in this fog”
“The trees were so perfect in this weather, there was a very cool Sleepy Hollow vibe to this place now, I loved it!”
“This vista point is usually a rather scenic one, but not today, just a creepy view into a white void”
“These trees were so fantastic, I shot more further along the trail”
“Alpine Pond was our loop point, this is where the fog let up a little”
“Heading back, the fog surged again and began getting a lot thicker”
“With only a mile left before getting back to the parking lot, I soaked in the last of this beautiful experience”
“We headed home through the awesome fog and knew right away that when the clouds roll over the tops of these hills, I will return for more photos”
It was great to hang out with my old friend Julie again and pack so much activity into one single day. Tomorrow we will be going to Point Lobos for a nice 6 mile hike and lots of fantastic photo opportunities along the way! Until then, thanks for visiting and remember to always “Shoot the Planet!”
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