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Exploring The Beaches of The Bay
Today I took a scenic drive and explored some of the lesser-known beaches of The Bay Area. Most people here go to one of the many beaches in Santa Cruz, about 35 minutes Southwest of San Jose, but I decided to visit some of the beaches North of Santa Cruz.
To prepare for my beach expedition, I made a tadalist of things to bring with me: sandwiches, gatorade, clothing of varying warmth, a camera, and a sketchbook/journal. Now I think I would add to that list: even warmer clothing, a towel to wipe the sand off of my feet, and some shoes that are perhaps fit for rock climbing (I wore flip flops). However, I was sufficiently prepared to have a good experience.
To get to the beaches I wanted to go to, I took California route 84, which was a very enjoyable road to drive on. The varied shadows casts by the redwood trees made it difficult to see, but the road was full of curves and hairpin turns that were fit for a car commercial. I saw many people enjoying their sports cars and motorcycles, and there were also many bicyclists. They are either brave or crazy for riding that road, because I don’t know if there would be enough time for a motorist to react to their presence around some of those blind turns. La Honda Road if you zoom in on this map will show you the character of this road. It took maybe an hour to get to a beach. Gas was $3.15 a gallon. Somehow an hour drive to a beach goes by much quicker than say, an hour drive to Lincoln, Nebraska.
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The first beach I visited was Pomponio. It didn’t take me long outside of my car to decide it was time to change into long pants and long sleeves. It was sunny in San Jose, as always, but upon arriving at the coast there was no trace of the sun. I asked one of the beach wardens if it was usually this cloudy here, and she said that it was. This must be why these beaches aren’t especially popular. There were still several dozen people there, fishing, surfing, picnicking, or just walking around like myself. I took off my sandals and walked along the beach, and was sure to call a few close friends and family to let them know where I was. It’s not that often that a kid from Nebraska finds himself near an ocean. The tide was low and I saw some beautiful cliffs and rock features.
The next beach I went to was Pescadero. This beach was much more rocky than Pomponio, and there were tide pools with crabs scurrying about in them. As I approached one large rock, I could hear the crabs making some sort of bubbling sound. They were tucked away in little crevices, waiting for the tide to come back in. I saw a couple crawling about on a rocky beach and I thought maybe they were hunting for clams, but they said they were picking out rocks for their gardens. You’re not supposed to do that at a State Beach, of course. I thought they might have been hunting for clams because I saw a notice posted that said there was a quarantine on mussels from California. They may contain a substance that is poisonous to humans. It said it was okay to eat the clams, but you were supposed to remove the dark parts. I’d like to hunt and eat my own clams, but I’d better find someone experienced in that to show me how.
Then I went to Pebble Beach (no relation to the golf course) which is near Bean Hollow. There were even more tide pools here, and amazing rock formations. There were professional photographers there taking pictures of them.
Then I came across Año Nuevo State Reserve, and was delighted to see that elephant seals and sea lions could be observed here, but it was past the hours to purchase passes, and it was a 1.6 mile hike to the observation point, and I was getting pretty tired. That is something I will definitely have to see. I may have to reserve a guided tour during the breeding months (Dec-March), which is when one may see two males competing, or maybe even witness the birth of a pup. Didn’t get to see any of that today, so I just took a short nap in my car.
I did end up driving through Santa Cruz, though I didn’t stop at any of the beaches, and it was certainly much sunnier there. On my way there, I saw some people being pulled on boards by parachutes. I didn’t catch what they call this, and I’ve never seen it before.
This will surely be one of many exploratory adventures in The Bay Area. There is an overwhelming amount of things to see and do.