Santa Cruz is a cool city. There was a wedding and a reception. It was a nice place to take a walk and watch the sunset before we made it to Monterey.
Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, Point Lobos
April 11, 2022
Started the morning in rainy Monterey with an attempt to swing by the Aquarium (sold out) and Cannery Row (cold and rainy and touristy).
Turns out the intercontinental hotel is a nice spot to warm up and dry off. We walked around Monterey a little more but decided it was time to move on, get in the car and gas up and work our way over to the Pebble Beach area. This was a good call.
17 Mile Drive is unbelievably gorgeous, winding its way around some of the most beautiful golf courses as well as some of the most incredible real estate in the world. Hugging the ocean and the bay, it goes past Spyglass, The Links at Spanish Bay, and it works its way to the links at Pebble Beach. We stopped at Lone Cypress to get a photo and walk around and down to the iconic spot right on the ocean.
From Lone Cypress, we kept driving until we made it to the village at Pebble beach. This is sort of the hub for the entire area. There are shops, restaurants, and of course, the world famous golf course. We decided this would be a nice place to grab a fancy lunch. And even though the course is open to the public, at $600 per round, not everyone in the public is open to the course. The lunch, though, was great. We had tuna tartare, lobster salad, and two glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Not too shabby!
After lunch, we decided to walk down to the 18th green along the water. We also walked back up and around to the first tee. It really is a gorgeous golf course. As we left, we continued the 17 mile drive on our way out of the Pebble Beach community. But before we left it entirely, we saw goats!
Our last stop in the Monterey and Carmel area, before we worked our way down to Big Sur, was Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. it’s only a few miles from the glitz and glamour of Pebble Beach, but it feels like it’s a world away.
(Photos and videos to be added later)
Looking for whales at Pescadero
After leaving Pigeon Point, we headed south toward Santa Cruz but stopped at Pescadero because we saw whales spouting! They were a few hundred yards off the shore but there was no mistaking what we saw.
Pigeon Point Light Station and State Historic Park
From Pigeon Point, we continued south past Pescadero to Santa Cruz.
Half Moon Bay (part 2)
Photos and video from a walk along Half Moon Bay State Beach￼
From the State Beach, we drove up to Mavericks Beach, past Pillars Point
From Mavericks we got back in the car to head south toward Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea, with a few stops along the way.
The first was at Pigeon Point Lighthouse and State Historical Park and the second was in Natural Bridges State Beach near Santa Cruz.
Half Moon Bay (part 1)
Do you write about a terrible day of travel so that you can document it and remember it? Or do you chalk it up as a shitty / long / exhausting day and just move on? I think I’ll choose the latter. In the end, despite everything, we made it to San Francisco and eventually, Half Moon Bay. Got in to the beautiful Half Moon Bay Lodge around midnight on Friday and passed out for 8+ hours. Woke up Saturday morning, feeling better and alive again and it doesn’t hurt that it’s absolutely beautiful today!
Not sure where rest of the day will take us; hope to check out Mavericks Beach and Devil’s Slide Trail.
Tonight we’ll head down Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea but for right now we’re enjoying the quiet and tranquility.
Let’s see what the rest of Saturday brings!
Olympic NP Day 1
What an incredible day! We woke up, got breakfast at the local grocery store, and worked our way south toward Lake Quinault. We decided that we would try to keep this day as open and unplanned as possible, and this turned out to be a really good idea. Our first stop was at the “Beach 4” along the Pacific ocean and a part of Olympic NP that borders the water. This was such a cool spot!
The coastal fog blanketed the beach and the trees; the rocks along the beach were all round and smooth. The entire forest was moody and both literally and figuratively cool.
Oh yeah, and the bald eagles! As we hiked along the beach toward some of the tidal pools, I looked up and saw one bald eagle already perched in a tree. Shortly thereafter, his buddy joined him. They chatted for a little bit, which was so fascinating and funny to hear. Andrea took some great photos of both of them perched in the tree and we watched them for a long time.
It was a tranquil and quiet place, with beauty all around, and a perfect first location to visit within the Park.
From Beach 4, we got back in the car to venture further south along the Peninsula. Interestingly, as soon as we left the coastal area, the fog disappeared the sun came back out, and the temperature quickly went up 10 or 15 degrees.
I wanted to make it to Quinault, as my dad reminded me that we had visited there 1993, and I sat in the same chair as FDR! I’m so glad we were able to make that happen, for more reasons than one. Indeed. we were able to see the Lake Quinault Lodge, and take a look inside the Roosevelt Room restaurant, and I had forgotten how beautiful that Lodge was and still is, designed by the same architect who built the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, Robert Reamer.
We were also able to get in a really cool hike, that started along the lake, and then worked its way up into a rain forest. Amazingly tall trees, like the cedar and the western Hemlock and the Sitka Spruce. A good hike for two or three miles through some incredible scenery, this was a loop trail and brought us back to the lake. We changed into our suits, and jumped in the water, which was cool but not cold and incredibly refreshing! Obviously, a terrific way to cool off on a warm summer day.
We ended the day with a trip out to La Push to view the sunset along the Pacific. Dinner on the beach (pizza and a panini) and watching the sun work its way below the coastal fog and slowly to the horizon. We saw several people getting ready to camp on the beach before we trudged back to the car to get back to the hotel and crash. A long but incredible day with two trips to the beach along the Pacific and a walk down memory lane sandwiched in between!
(Writing this as we take the ferry to Stehekin)
We left Paradise, and were sad to go. An unbelievably beautiful hotel and a gorgeous National Park with amazing views of Mount Rainier.
We weren’t quite done with the park though, as we decided to honor Andrea‘s grandfather and a trip that he made into the park a long time ago. From Paradise, we drove south and then east, descending as we went. Near the southeast corner of the park, we made a left and headed north in order to make it to Chinook Pass. It was there, in 1943, that Andrea‘s grandfather, Robert, stopped and took a photo with a camera that Andrea now owns herself: a Kodak Volenda 160, manufactured in 1938.
We found the spot where he took that photo, or at least, we were very close to it. And to honor his legacy, Andrea took some photos with the very same camera! I took pictures of Andrea taking the pictures, although of course I took mine with my phone. I have no doubt that my phone won’t last nearly as long as Andrea‘s grandfather‘s camera has!
Before leaving the park, we wanted to visit Sunrise and the Visitor Center at the highest point in the park accessible by car. It was a long drive up, with lots of switchbacks, but you were rewarded with cool views of the mountain that you couldn’t see elsewhere. Lots more snow, with more glaciers visible. It was crowded near the top, and we knew we had a long drive ahead of us, so we didn’t stay for too long, but I’m glad we made it to that park as well.
From Sunrise, we knew that we had to drive for about for five hours, to get out to the Olympic National Park and the Olympic Peninsula. For most of the drive, Andrea took the wheel, while I took a decent nap, waking up as we crossed Puget Sound north and west of Tacoma. We worked our way around the Olympic Peninsula, as we were trying to get to Forks. We stopped at Lake Crescent, which is technically inside Olympic NP, to stretch our legs and get views of this beautiful glacial lake. From there, we continued west and south until we made it to Forks. Staying at the Forks Motel was fine, although certainly not extravagant. Regardless, it was clean and convenient, and gave us access to the western section of Olympic NP.
(Writing this as we take the ferry to Stehekin)
Hurricane Ridge to Hurricane Hill
Writing these out of order for the moment. But will get back to Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday at some point soon. Today we woke up in Port Angeles, at the Olympic Lodge. Very nice and clean and quiet hotel. Easy access to Olympic National Park, and the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, which is just outside of town.
Had breakfast in the hotel and got cleaned and organized and figured out what we were doing this morning. Took our time this morning after a few long days in a row, yesterday especially. At around noon, we drove from Port Angeles up past the Visitor Center and up Hurricane Ridge Road.
A beautiful and relatively quick drive took us up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. We stopped and got out and had a cooler lunch (tortillas and cheese and turkey and jerky) and explored the area around the parking lot and in the Visitor Center itself. From there, we drove to the trailhead for Hurricane Ridge up to Hurricane Hill. It’s a paved trail, but certainly steep in parts. We worked our way up to the top, pausing a few times to catch our breath, but views from the top are incredible. We were able to see down to Port Angeles and the Juan De Fuca Strait, all the way across to Victoria and Vancouver Island. On a really clear day, you can even see Mt. Baker, north of Seattle and close to the Canadian border, but it was just a LITTLE too cloudy today. Still, great weather at the top, with a few high clouds mixed with a decent amount of sunshine.
Spent a lot of time at the top of Hurricane Hill, which sits at 5757 feet. Saw a few black tail deer, including two bucks, and hiked a but of the trail to Elwha and the Elwha River (not paved). When it started to get too steep and too much of a descent, we decided to turn around to head back to Hurricane Hill Trail. Andrea took a time lapse video, so I am writing this post as the time lapses. Time, of course, always lapses, but as I write this, there’s a video of the clouds and the Olympic Mountains being recorded too.
(Insert time lapse video.)
Bonus: after coming back down the mountain and into Port Angeles, we picked up dinner at the same Pho restaurant we ate at on Thursday night and headed BACK up Hurricane Ridge Road so that Andrea could attempt to get a few photos of the sunset from the mountains. The sky didn’t exactly cooperate, but it was still an amazing place to watch the sun go down and to see darkness creep across the park and the city down below us.
Pinnacle Peak and the Tatoosh Range
Today we went on a hike that we originally planned on doing yesterday. The hike from Reflection lakes up to Pinnacle Peak. It’s just a short drive from Paradise Inn, so we left around 11 after getting some ice for the cooler, (thank you kind workers in the café!)
We both got some nice photos by Reflection lake looking back at Rainier. It truly does live up to its name!
From the lakes, we started the ascent up to Pinnacle Peak.
It might’ve been a little more steep than the climb to Bench lake and Snow lake, but it was certainly less buggy. We took our time going up, stopping for a lot of photos looking back south at Rainier. We crossed over two or three mountain streams as we climbed higher and higher.
Upon reaching the pass, at about 6200 feet, we encountered amazing views looking south, toward the Tatoosh Wilderness. If not for the haze and smoky skies, we could have seen Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. As it was, we still enjoyed incredible vistas of the southern end of the Park.
From the pass, there were a few options. You could hike along the ridge toward Unicorn Peak, if you were to go to the east. You could climb Plummer Peak, which was to the west. Or you could attempt to scramble to get up near the top of pinnacle Peak. We chose the latter, but quickly realized we wouldn’t make it to the summit. It was just a little too far and a little too difficult. Still, it was a fun, if harrowing, climb and took us right up to an edge.
From this vantage point, we actually had cell reception. So Andrea was able to FaceTime with her parents, and I with mine. We shared with them the views, as best we could.
We scrambled back down to the pass, over some loose rock, going low and going slow. And then from there, even though we were tired and hot and running low on water, we decided to hike up a little bit of Plummer Peak. It was an easier and more gradual hike, and much less of a climb. We reached a beautiful Alpine Meadow with flowing water and a small pond and amazing views back across the valley towards Paradise. And because we had our filter, we were even able to replenish our water supply (and cool off with the water from the high mountain snow and stream.)
At this point, it was time to start walking back down towards the trailhead. We were both pretty tired and hot and sweaty. But we felt pretty damn good!
We made it back down by about 5pm, with two cold drinks waiting for us in the cooler. Headed back up to Paradise Inn, where we’ll have dinner again tonight.
Once again writing this post from the tranquility of our sitting room. A beautiful corner suite (number 302) before we head into the dining room for our last dinner on the mountain!