Friday, April 22, 2011

Days 3 and 4—Big Sur And Big Fishies

Note: Really far behind, as campgrounds with wifi are few and far between, as you can tell by my mention of free earth day coffee at Starbucks. But hey, the Starbucks I´m at still had an earth day shelf label up today.

So, on Wednesday night we drove all the way to Cambria, CA, home of the most expensive gas yet, only to discover that part of California had fallen into the ocean and blocked off Highway 1 right before the campground we wanted to stay at (Photo).

We ended up driving back to the motel 6 of the previous post. Some research revealed that a mudslide just north of our intended campground left us with one route. Conveniently, Nacimiento-Ferguson Road goes right through a military training base, which fortunately is open to public thoroughfare. The road then goes through a beautiful state forest until it reaches highway 1 at the ocean.

Limekiln State Park is clearly 5 star camping. Our campsite was shaded by redwoods and next to a rushing stream. The park goes from the ocean to the redwoods. There are three half mile trails to hike, with about the best amazing-sights-to-hiking-distance ratio you can get (unless of course you only like to see things if you have to walk all day to get to them). The first trail goes along Hare Creek and ends at a stand of redwoods around a small falls that flow into a pool. We hiked this trail before lunch.

After the first short hike we set up camp and I made some pasta with broccoli for lunch. I was very excited to eat my first broccoli in 3 months. No one believes how much I missed broccoli while in the Amazon! After lunch, we set out for the the remaining trails. The falls trail ends in this beautiful 100 foot waterfall.

Backtracking from the falls, we took the path to the Limekilns from which the park´s name derives. The area was originally a lime mine, and the lime was processed in four huge kilns. These ruinous edifices in the woods reminded us of something from LOST or a Myst game.

Afterwards we went down to the Ocean to watch the sunset and the waves.

The night was chilly, but our new double sleeping bag is super warm and the sound of the stream is wonderful white noise to cover the night sounds that tend to keep me awake in the tent.

In the morning we enjoyed warm showers (part of the 5 star accommodations) and set off for Monterrey. We gladly heard the news that highway 1 to the north was now open. After a beautiful drive we stopped at Starbucks to fill our mugs with free Earth Day coffee! Then off to the Monterrey Bay aquarium. The aquarium has a really artistic way of displaying the creatures, which made it a neat place to visit. I think sea anemones are my favourite.

After we throughly explored the museum, we found a British pub with a British waiter and had some fish and chips and cobbler. It was quite good, plus there was a nice fire in the restaurant.

Our planned campground for the night was full, but we found Bob´s Pine Grove (210 Golf Club Dr., Santa Cruz), which was pretty enough and quiet, surprising considering its proximity to downtown Santa Cruz. Also, warm showers!

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