Day at Point Lobos

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Castroville, CA

Sunday, May 17th, 2015


On the second day out with my old friend Julie, we set off for Point Lobos just south of Monterey via the Pacific Coast Highway out of Santa Cruz, CA.

This stretch of highway is not as spectacular as the drive from Santa Cruz to Pescadero like the day before, but our Point Lobos destination will rival it in beauty no less.
If you want to see what I mean, check out the travel blog for the day before here: “Coastal Adventures 2015

Along the way to Point Lobos State Preserve, we would eventually begin running into many small fruit stands and places to try out a local favorite, “Fried Artichoke”. I had mentioned to Julie that we had to stop at a place I discovered last year when my truck broke down after a fuel line ruptured. They serve up some pretty good food and the Fried Artichoke there was a serious matter for any foodie!

The Choke Coach

( 36.7422901°N , -121.7686941°W )

“This is the only food truck I know that is set up here permanently and it serves up some pretty awesome treats”

“I had ordered one serving of their Fried Artichoke dashed with Parmesan Cheese and a side of Garlic Dijon dipping sauce”

Point Lobos State Reserve, CA

( 36.5189853°N , -121.9538073°W )

Point Lobos is one of the best coastal hike I have experienced to date. There are many rock formations and wildlife from Deer to Sea Otters and so much more. Visiting this place always prompts me for a most excellent photo opportunity and on top of that, the 5.6 mile hike loop around this preserve is a great bit of scenic exercise.

Some things to take into consideration when visiting here is that there is an entry fee and it goes as follows: Passenger cars: $10.00; vehicle with a senior citizen: $9.00; with disabled discount card $5.00; Small coach or van: $50.00 (10 to 25 passengers); large bus $100.00; Annual Day Use Pass: $150-195.00 (pass valid for one year from date of purchase).

If you are like me, you can skip the entry fee in exchange for some additional leg work. There is plenty of legal parking along the stretch of PCH 1 that runs through the preserve and if you are lucky, you may get a spot near the entrance, but it is not uncommon to find yourself up to a 1/2 mile away from the main entrance.

Once you get into the preserve through the walk in gate, you must be very mindful of Poison Oak because that stuff is everywhere and especially in higher concentrations at Allan Memorial Cove. As usual, I suggest plenty of water, snacks, and definitely sunscreen!

“Getting all my gear ready for a day of hiking and shooting, we started the Carmelo Meadow Trail to Whaler’s Cove”

“Where the forest meets the sea, this bit of coastline is very impressive”

“The trail along Whaler’s Cove definitely has an amazing view”

“Looking to the left of the trail, you would never guess that you were walking near the ocean”

“This area is popular diving site and there are many animals here if you have a keen eye”

“This is Harbor Seal birthing season, so keeping quiet is a must, I found a few of them resting on the shore just below the trail”

“I did not see any today, but the last time I was here, I could see what resembled small moon jellies bobbing just under the surface”

“Once you reach the end of Whaler’s Cove, there is a stone step pathway that takes you up and over to the next portion of the trail”

“A view from the end of Whaler’s Cove”

“The view of Cannery Point Pinnacles was amazing”

“The wooden step pathway would have been a formidable hike for me i the past, but it’s just a breeze for me these days”

“The first view of Bluefish Cove came into view shortly after reaching the top of the wooden steps”

“Many of these lavender colored flowers lined the pathway”

“Discovered a neat floral meadow-like area as we carried on”

“We started the Cypress Grove Trail to Allan Memorial Cove, another favorite location of mine”

“The Big Pinnacle at Pinnacle Cove”

Near the Big Pinnacle off the Cypress Grove Trail, there are some cliff faces and a small forest of trees that are covered in a velvety type of rusty orange colored growth. To my surprise, I learned that the growth is actually a green algae named “Trentapohlia”. Its rusty orange color is caused by the presence of large quantities of carotenoid pigments, similar to that of carrots, which mask the green of the chlorophyll. The growth does not harm the trees at all.

“The growth of Trentapholia covers most of the tree and gives it a very fascinating appearance”

“A closer look at the rusty orange growth”

“We took a short break for a snack at the tip of Allan Memorial Cove, the most westerly position at Point Lobos”

“The deer around this area were adjusted to human presence and showed no alarm at our proximity to them which was often about 6ft or less”

“The color of the water in some areas is so surreal, but the best was yet to come””

“We arrived at Sea Lion Cove which is typically accessible, but it was birthing season for them too, so access was denied”

“You could see many Sea Lions all laid out along the cove”

“We started our way to the southern areas of Point Lobos where the tide pools and rock formations are just awesome”

“Just one of literally hundreds of tide pools here on the southern beaches of Point Lobos”

“Some of the tide pools were populated with dozens of these tennis ball sized sea urchins”

“The rock striations were visually striking as well”

“Upon closer inspection, one could not help but to both admire and be in awe of the striated rock and the immense forces it took to deform it this way”

“The south shore was an interesting collection of rocky pinnacles and rocky slabs jutting out from the sea”

“China Beach Cove is one of the most photographed areas of the preserve which is tucked away and closed off during birthing season”

“Spotted an adolescent Harbor Seal playing in the emerald green waters of the cove”

“Gibson Beach was the last bit of Point Lobos to see along this trail, the staircase down is a big one”

“After completing the coastal portion of the hike loop, we entered the forest again to make our way back to our starting point”

This was the last of the two days worth of adventure that Julie came out for and she definitely had a great time. It’s always great to share these places with those who have never been. Lately these mini day trips have been inspiring a surge of travel blogs and I am looking forward to posting more and more for 2015!

Hopefully, I will be able to catch up with the blogging as I venture, until the next one, thanks for visiting and remember to always “Shoot the Planet!”


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