Travels & Adventures

From Moonstone Beach to Big Basin

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Quite awhile back I wrote a little about our drive from Los Angeles up the coast to San Francisco, where we stopped along the way in Carmel Valley, Big Sur, and explored our way up and down Highway 1. I have collected a few other highlights from our 3 day drive, including stops at San Simeon, Monterey and Morro Bay.

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We started off winding our way up through Santa Monica and Malibu, turning inland at the Gaviota State Park. Our first real stop that day, after a few leg stretches along the way, was at Morro Bay, where we wandered around the huge rock that rears up out of the harbour, splitting a small inlet from a long stretch of beach. We were pretty thrilled at spotting some seals and otters in the lagoon, and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh tangy salt in the air. We regretted somewhat that we hadn’t enough time to make our first stop that day, the last, and unwind in one of the village restaurants. Nevertheless we tucked into some amazing sandwiches that we had picked up along the way, Milos fighting for his last bite with a squirrel that had snuck up on him out of the brush. It got quite chilly and we decided to head back to the car and explore a little further up.

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Next stop was at Moonstone beach, where we clambered among windswept coves, and hunted for the moonstones, we lucked out more by seeing some sea lions curled up in-between the rocks camouflaged until they let out late afternoon sighs. Time to move on, the sun would set soon and we wanted to see the elephant seals in San Simeon before we headed inland for the last push to our motel in Carmel valley for the night. After a few false stops, and with us wondering if we were in the right season to see the seals, he heard an odd grunting and scufflesnuffling drifting up from a walkway along the water line. Score! The seals were like huge giant slugs, wiggling their snouts and one another and smelling a tad stinky. We stayed until the wind picked up and began to blow the wrong way!

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After spending the next day in Big Sur, the last leg of our journey before heading back to San Francisco, we drove through Monterey, and Moss Landing, only to find more seals, otters and flocks of birds. Slowly the landscape changed as we headed into the forested areas outside of San Francisco. A green canopy closed overhead and we found ourselves in another world. The trees stretched up into the sky, and we couldn’t see the tops. Milos had been wanting to see the sequoias, and Big Basin park didn’t disappoint. Again we were pretty sad that we couldn’t camp for a few nights, but I probably didn’t have enough bug spray. The surroundings were quite delicious though, and I could almost smell the burning marshmellows.

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We took some time to do a small hike, where we startled some deer, and honestly felt as far away from urban life that we could imagine. The sunlight filtering down through the majestic branches overhead.

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The way the foliage turned the world green has really stayed with me, and I have a fair number of illustrations brewing inspired by these leafy vistas, and sweeping trunks. Perhaps it was because I felt so small, like a tiny creature zipping about these ancient kings of the tree world.

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Before long, it was time to hit the road again, and you can be sure that as we drove away we were planning the next dream vacation back to this part of world to explore further!

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4 thoughts on “From Moonstone Beach to Big Basin

  1. These California pictures makes me so jealous right now. The photo of the sandpiper (?) on the shore with the little red plants in the foreground is very interesting. There are a lot of sharp angles and varied textures going on.

  2. Pingback: Big Basin | Life Viewed Through a Lens

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