Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cruising the Northern California Coast

     Trade in some sunshine for a little more peace and quiet on the Northern California Coast. 

     By the time you hit Monterey you’ll notice a change in the landscape.  There is more fog and the hills are greener.  The rivers and streams seem more abundant.

     Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a hauntingly beautiful sight, located near Pescadero.  Its unkempt appearance adds to its charm.  We came upon it on a stormy morning in July.  It’s surrounded by a chain link fence and a hostel.

     These sea otters were playing in the shallow waters of the Salinas River near Manressa State Beach.  I have never seen so many sea otters in the wild before.  There were at least 40 of them.  I captured these guys with my 300mm telephoto lens.

     A beautiful white egret wading next to the Salinas River:

     Me wandering down a chilly and windy beach:

     Point Reyes National Seashore is a gorgeous undeveloped area just North of San Francisco.  This is a view from the very edge of the steep bluffs that line the seashore.  Being July, it was incredibly foggy.  This view clears up in September and October.

     Things move a little slower on the Nor Cal Coast, especially once you’re heading away from San Francisco.  I had to stop and get a few photos of this devastated old house, sitting lonely right off the side of Highway 1.

     The Mendacino Headlands is a perfect spot for watching a river meet the ocean.  

     Just north of Russian Gulch State Park is a gorgeous, well preserved lighthouse standing all alone in a field of tall grass.  It overlooks rocky bluffs and an endless expanse of the Pacific.  You’ll walk an easy mile down a maintained trail to get to it.

     There is a campground located in a picturesque cove in Westport Beach, where you’re allowed to set up a tent right in the sand.  Just stay behind the high-tide line.

     It was one of the best camping experiences I have ever had, leaving my tent unzipped to views of the ocean.

     This is just a small piece of what makes up California’s 800 miles of coastline.  It doesn’t get as much fame as the sunny South, but it’s full of its own unique beauty and stunning scenery.  

     Watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean... I can think of few better ways to end a day.

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