Enjoying one last hike at Point Lobos State Reserve before heading home

Point Loos State Reserve Panorama - 1

Both driving down to Big Sur on Monday and driving back yesterday, it was clear that Point Lobos State Reserve is extremely popular, so much so that the parking lots fills up early in the day. That means motorists need to park on the shoulder of Hwy One and walk in, which is a good distance to all the popular spots.

Given the Adventurers were just three miles north of the Reserve – which can be seen both from their room and the dining room at Mission Ranch – they headed there this morning for a last hike before heading home.

Bird Island_ Point Loos State Reserve - 1

They parked at the second lot and first went north along the Coast, a walk both of them remember taking before, but not together.

The highlight was taking the trail south from the parking lot. While it was clear that a lot of motorists who do get access to the park, just drive from one parking lot to another, the Adventurers enjoyed the hike on slightly up and down trails with panoramic views in every direction.

Point Loos State Reserve_second panorama - 1

Their destination was Bird Island, which actually seemed like more than one island or inlet. The birds practice de facto segregation: pelicans in one area, cormorants in another with rogue seagulls touching down in both locations. How they figure this all out is a mystery, e.g. why these islands/inlets and not others?

After their good hike they stopped at Gayles in Aptos to pick up a take-home dinner. As always, they best…

Hike/easy/four miles

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Back at one of their all time favorite places – Mission Ranch in Carmel

sunset on sheep field at Mission Ranch - 1

Early on in their relationship, L & D stayed at Mission Ranch Inn in Carmel, but they hadn’t done so in the last few years, as The  Mag has been with them. They took this Mag-less trip to return to what is one of their all-time favorite places.

The location is fabulous, particularly if you’re lucky enough to score a room over looking the sheep in the adjoining meadow.

And the dining room can’t be beat, always buzzing and filled with music from the piano bar. Because they were guests, they scored a reservation at the best table in the house. As always, they shared the prime rib…

L & D at Mission Ranch dinner - 1

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Surprising sights at Garapata State Park

bluff trail Garraparta - 1

shadowing at Garrapata - 1Evidently garapata means tick in Spanish, and there was indeed a sign warning of the insects at the inland trail head at Garapata State Park, which would be easy to miss if not for the parked cars along the road.

It’s about halfway between Big Sur and Carmel, so a good stopping place for the Adventurers for pre-lunch, pre-tee time (for D) leg stretcher.

The crossed Highway One and did a short but pretty walk along the bluff first. The terrain is covered with coyote brush, sagebrush, and bright red ice plant. A couple they met along the way took their photo. And they took a bluff top shadowy, too.

cactus at Garrapata - 1Then they took the Soberanes Canyon Trail which heads inland with views of redwoods and the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. The surprise was to turn around a bend and be greeted with a forest of cactus, a remnant, they presumed of its ranching days as this non-native to the area species needed human introduction.

They walked as long as a stream that needed forging. Given that they were in running shoes, not boats, the made a U-turn back to the car.

Needing lunch, D remembered the good lunch they’d had previously at Baja Cantina in Carmel Valley, so they headed there. That it was close to the golf course at Quail Lodge was the extra attraction. Like she’d done a month earlier, L was the cart driver while D played a decent round of bogey golf. Particularly at a brand new course…

Hike/easy/1.5 miles

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Getting a last look at the Post Ranch Inn trails (and turkeys)

D photographs Tree Houses_18th - 1

D with turkeys - 1L had the idea that the Adventurers would walk some of the Post Ranch Inn trails that they hadn’t been on previously before breakfast this morning, particularly because they’d be checking out later in the morning.

They were so glad they did as it gave them a greater appreciation of just how beautiful the property it.

From the ocean view/grass roofed cottage, they headed north along the coast line, passing some of the lodgings that are on stilts. They Ranch calls them tree houses and they do look like another fun alternative.

L with Big Tree - 1This is particularly true as they think they views of the mountains east are as stunning as watching views of the Pacific. This was particularly true this morning with the sun hitting the hills as it rose. Some of the artwork scattered around the property can be see on the left in the hill shot.

There are lots of redwoods on the property – L tried one on for size. And lots of turkeys. Not to mention bunnies and deer. Oh, and then there are the bats that come out about 30 minutes after the sun sets. They display their good dive-bombing self. Alas, no photo to show off their performance.

One oversight in our reports: We need to do all this hiking because the food at Sierra Mar is so, so good…

D with art and moutains - 1Hike/easy/2.3 miles


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The Adventurers celebrate their third wedding anniversary with hiking and relaxing

L with heart at Post Ranch Inn - 1

Early this morning, the fog had come in to cover the ocean, stopping short of the ridge where Post Ranch Inn sits – the magic of being in Big Sur in October.

Yesterday,  L poised by a heart sculpture that dots the Inn. It seemed more appropriate to post that photo today. How lucky she is!

The planned birthday hike was to to Pfeiffer Falls in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. But guess what, it was closed, not by the fire/rains of two years ago but another fire way back in 2008. So it’s been closed for 10 years. That includes a short spur from the Valley View trail which they took for a good out and back hike that was just hard enough to get their attention and easy enough to not wear then out too much.

D in Big Sur River - 1

When they were almost back to the parking lot, they spied a bunch of concrete strips across the Big Sur River, so D when out for a photo op.

They bought lunch at the Big Sur Deli and decided that a picnic on their private balcony would be a better way to celebrate their anniversary than another longish dinner. (Plus tomorrow night they’ll be at Clint’s place for a belated celebration!.)

How nice to have a lazy afternoon after so much go, go go. And to enjoy cocktails and dinner overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean…

D at picnic dinner anniversary - 1

Hike/moderate/3.2 miles

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On the D’s birthday, exploring the many parts of Big Sur

D at Partington Cove - 1

shadowy duo on D birthday - 1D joined the 70 club today, months after many of his classmates. The story goes that he was a premie and was actually due on or around L’s birthday. That would have meant he would have been a class behind.

After breakfast the walked the ridge top property that makes up Post Ranch Inn lodgings. There’s is one of the stand alone ocean view units with grass on the roof top (shown just beyond the shadowy duo).

Then they hit the road with first stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where early on in their relationship that done a bit of butt kicker hike. Like many of the trails in the Big Sur area, it was closed due to fire/water damage from two years ago.

The short walk out to mcWay Falls was open, so they headed that way along with many, many other walkers. There were lots of Europeans and Millennials who appeared to be doing their last outing pre-baby. The falls was nice trickle, But not worth the hype.

D in hot pool - 1

It was then on to Partington Cove (top photo), which both the Adventurers had heard about but neither had ventured down to. It’s about a mile downhill from Highway One, a pretty cove that they saw from two different vantage points.

D blowing out candle - 1Back at the Post Ranch Inn, they split a burger and then enjoyed the larger of the two soaking pools, this one right at cliff’s edge. Of note: the view of the mountains from the Ranch is as spectacular as the ocean view.

Dinner was another four-course extravaganza at Sierra Mar. The sommelier found a well-priced Burgundy from Morey St. Denis, of course. And with dessert came a birthday candle. A nice way to turn 70, D declared…

Walks around Post Ranch and two hikes/easy to moderate/3.7 miles

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Let the birthday/anniversary celebrations begin with trip down the coast

surfer at Andrew Molera State Park - 1

The Adventurers packed up the car and headed south this morning for a four day getaway to celebrate D’s 70th birthday and their third anniversary.

First stop was Rocky Point, which they’ve enjoyed over the years, when they’ve been in the Carmel area. Its location overlooking the Pacific is fabulous and the cioppino is yummy, with lots of seafood and a broth with a bit a punch.

barn at Andrew Molera State Park - 1

They did a post lunch short hike at Andrew Molera State Park, hiking to Molera Beach which is popular with surfers and body boarders. L liked the old barn there.

Then it was down the Coast to Big Sur and their home of the next three nights, Post Ranch Inn, one of the west coast’s most famous luxury resorts, if not the country’s. Its setting is as magnificent as advertised.

D at Bixby Bridge sculpture at Post Ranch - 1

L in spirit nest_vert - 1The Adventurers walked around the ample grounds, which are studded with various art works. D poised with a replica of the famed Bixby Bridge

They paused in the spirit nest, which  is about six feet off the ground. D took a short nap, thanks to the pillows scattered inside.

Their ocean view room was as advertised. Wow – what gorgeous stretch of coastline…

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