Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The last California post for a long time

Ahhh, it saddens me that this will be the last time I write about California. There are so many other places to see in the world and yet I would be content just going back to visit this state. It's so beautiful. And, I saved the best for last: Monterey and Big Sur. Some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. If you have not gone, go!

We arrived in Monterey on Saturday and headed straight to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I recommend going on a non-weekend day. It was CROWDED with lots and lots of strollers. But so worth the admission price. I took a ton of pictures . Under the sea creature are amazing and so colorful.

And that's just the inside. The outside is just as nice to look at. Here is the observation deck that overlooks the bay where you can see kelp gardens and kayaks.

And this is where I could kick myself. It was late in the afternoon when we got to the hotel so we decided to rent bikes and get the lay of the land. And dummy me didn't bring my camera! I missed some really good shots. The weather was gorgeous, the marine layer had burned off and the sun was shining bright. We rode through town, down to Lovers Point, and then headed toward the tide pools. I'm still mad at myself for not bringing the camera because the tide pools were amazing! Markus ventured into the very chilly water to explore what was under the sea, while I opted to lay on the rocks and soak up the sun.
The next day we drove down the coast and headed towards Big Sur. And I realized quickly that my fear of bridges is actually a fear of heights. The road down is very windy with a minimal line of sight and so close to the sea. But the views are so breathtaking that I (almost) didn't notice.

It was early and the marine layer was still around so the views looked something like this as we left Monterey.

But the fog started to burn off the further south we headed and the sun began to peak out
And eventually you could see everything. So beautiful and peaceful. We would pull off every few miles and just stand in awe of the landscape. I think this is what they mean when they refer to God's Country.

Big Sur is very rustic. A great place to go camping and get in touch with nature. There are several parks in the area. We chose Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for hiking. They have redwoods and I hugged one. Does that make me a tree hugger? The hike up was a little tricky but the view from the top was worth it. So was the waterfall we passed.

We also went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park because I had read the views are amazing. They are. Most of the park is closed due to the 2008 wildfires but a small trial that leads to the waters edge is still open. You walk through this:

And on the other side is this:

There are signs posted everywhere warning not to go down to the beach. Many people have attempted and have needed rescuing. Probably worth it once you get down there. The land was once private property and the owners left it to California and requested the house be torn down and named after a local resident, JPB. Can you imagine LIVING on land that looks like this?

On the way back to Monterey we drove 17-mile drive and got a glimpse at the Pebble Beach golf club. We also got to see the Lone Cyprus Tree. Pretty cool looking.

I'll miss you California, hope to see you again soon!

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