Another Kind of Intoxication

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break. I was off for a week. My husband was off a week. And the weather, rain for a week. Some of our best friends, Chris, Krissy, baby Sean and Adam, came to visit mid-week. I was so excited for their visit, but could not help but be disappointed in the weather.  We still had a great time at Léal Winery albeit in the rain. The weather dried up enough to enjoy lunch at Monterey's wharf and our favorite tasting rooms around Cannery Row. Saturday we explored Carmel Valley Village and sipped more delicious wine as the sky sprinkled on and off. But Sunday morning greeted us with sunny skies, a truly glorious day.

We began the day by waiting in a long line to pick up sandwiches at a local deli. I think the entire peninsula was planning a picnic.  Giant subs. Check.  Chips. Check. A bottle of Christopher Cameron Red wine. Check. Plastic Cups to hide the wine from the park rangers. Check. We were ready for an afternoon of hiking at one of my favorite spots, Point Lobos State Park.

Located less than 10 miles from Monterey, this park covers a mini-peninsula that is divided by Cypress Groves on the northern shores and meadows on the southern side. We set off to hike the coastline exploring the headlands and coves that encompass the spectacular park.  We began walking through the forest to the northern coastline.  The forest gave way to Whaler’s cove whose entrance was bordered by the rocky cliffs of two headlands.  We spotted some empty picnic tables and hungrily attacked our sandwiches while simultaneously trying to savor every sip of the delicious wine. Our bellies full, it was time to walk off the meal and really explore the park. We climbed up to the cliff and looked out to Carmel-by-the Sea and Pebble Beach. We continued walking through the Monterey Cypress groves, one of only two places on earth that these trees remain in their native spot. Rock formations dotted the coastline adding to the stunning scenery. The sounds of woodpeckers often punctuated our sentences and Harbor Seals and their pups sunned on the beaches below the cliffs.

As we approached the Southern side, the groves gave way to meadows and the sounds of sea lions grew louder as we turned on to Sea Lion Point Trail. From here we could see the Cypress groves on top of the headlands to the north.  To the south and east ,the rocky coastline is backdropped by the high hills of the Carmel Highlands. Looking straight out to the water sea lions played on giant rocks. Huge waves crashed into the rocks spraying water high into the air. We scrambled down the trail which is covered with pebbles and rocks that have become permanently fixed to the sandstone.  This is my favorite part of the park. I love watching and listening to the sea lions and the giant crashing waves. I love the cobbled floor and the sea spray that brushes your face if you stand on the edge of the rocks. Every time a part of me feels like a child again.

After we climbed back up from Sea Lion Point, Mike gave our guests the option of heading back to the park or continuing along the southern side of the peninsula. I was delighted when the group chose to keep walking. We followed the southern trail walking along the edge of cliffs and winding along numerous coves. We spied several sea arches and more harbor seals and swimming otters. I took in a deep breath of the fresh air as I admired the clear almost turquoise water.  It had been awhile since my single glass of wine at lunch yet I found myself feeling completely intoxicated by the sounds of waves crashing and sea lions barking. Or was it the smells of trees, wildflowers and fresh surf? I have to admit that earlier in the week, I was a little angry at my favorite town for not showing its best face to my friends or to my husband and I on our stay-cation. However, as the sun shone on my shoulders and over the ocean, I felt myself falling in love with Monterey all over again.
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