Ok, so before we get into the adventure itself, I have to confess two things. First, these pictures are not completely in order. They are for the most part, but I wanted to save the very best part of our trip for last. Second, we didn't realize this until we were there, but Danny and Denise have already made a trip to Monterey and Big Sur. So, call us copycats if you choose. And in the spirit of letting them claim it, click here to read their post about it. Having said that, we would recommend this trip to anyone.
Adri and I had been talking for a long time about where to go over the Labor Day weekend. We were warned by many coworkers that trying to leave Orange County would be a nightmare with traffic. After much deliberating, we decided to head up to the Monterey and Big Sur area. The drive is supposed to take 6 and 1/2 hours, but because we had to fight traffic and we wanted to take the more scenic route it took us about 8 and 1/2 hours.
Of course, leave it to us to find something abandoned wherever we go. These are some of the things I love most. Graffiti, abandoned buildings. I just can't get enough of them. And, since not everyone is interested in this, I figured I would post it first. Technically these are the first and last sites that we saw.
Along the drive we were just mesmerized by the coast line up there. Mountains and rocks just going straight to the ocean everywhere you looked. There is a bridge up there called Bixby Bridge that is supposed to be awesome, but by the time we got there it was pitch black outside. And, on the way home it was so crowded with people that we couldn't stop to take a picture. But, I think this is a better picture than we would have gotten there.
Also along the way is McWay Falls. Unless you want to repel down you can't get to the beach, so it is just perfect and pristine. The coolest part is there is a waterfall that lands right on the sand as the waves come into the cove. Just gorgeous. I do kind of wish we would have grabbed our rock climbing stuff. It would have been fun to be the only people on that beach and to explore around. As you can see, there is a bit of a cave down there. I wonder if there is pirate treasure in there.
Since we got to our hotel fairly late, we went straight to bed. The next morning we got up to a beautiful day. Sunny sky, clear water, temperature in the mid to high 60s (we found we love this weather the most), and just great scenery to enjoy.
We walked down to the Fisherman's Wharf to explore and taste their fresh sea food and clam chowder (good thing you didn't join us dad). There was this guy taking "donations" to allow people to hold his birds. Adrienne really wanted to hold this Macaw. It was funny to watch her face as it just stared her down. Eventually it started to try to eat her shirt, so she gave it back. Sorry, no picture of me with the bird.
It was a lot of fun to see the fishing boats in the harbor coming in and out, and it was super fun to watch all the pelicans fight over the fish the fisherman would throw out.
That evening we headed over to Point Lobos National Park to hike around in the cyprus trees. The way those trees have adapted to the constant battering of wind and waves is pretty incredible. It creates for some interesting shapes for sure. It was super foggy while we were out there, but just very serene and beautiful.
Notice here that the tree has orange and green on it. Apparently there is a moss that grows only on the north side of the rocks and trees that is bright orange. We read that it is the same stuff that is in carrots. I don't think that means it is as good for you as carrots though.
We also got to see a number of sea lions. They were super lazy most of the time, but there were a few that played out in the ocean and swam and jumped around.
The highlight of the trip though was a couple hours of whale watching. We hoped on a boat one morning and headed out about a mile or two into the unknown. On the way up we were bouncing up and over some good sized swells. Large enough that Adri couldn't stop smiling and laughing, and at one point said to me, "This is better than a roller coaster." It was a lot of fun, but I think has more potential to make you sick. I'll take the roller coasters over the swells.
It was so incredible to go out and see the whales. After a while of searching we were able to see a pod of about 7 or 8 humpback whales. Adri actually saw one come head first out of the water, called breeching, and slam back down. I sadly missed it because I was watching some others. But, we got some great pictures. This boat here, the Sea Wolf, got a really nice little surprise to have one dive this close to them. We also got to watch one play by waving its tail in the air and the smacking it down. Then it would do a couple rolls and brings its fins out of the water. Back to the waving and then back to the rolling. It truly was an incredible experience!