Big Sur/San Francisco Trip - December 2009

T and I decided that, since we weren't visiting family for the Christmas holiday, we would drive up the coast to camp in Big Sur and visit San Francisco a bit.

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We didn't have much time or a lot of extra money so it was one night in Big Sur and one night in San Francisco before heading back to LA. In general, the trip was sort of a disaster. I won't go into detail, but it was one of those times when you feel like the entire planet is out to get you. At least we saw some beauty though! I'll only include the Big Sur and central coast photos here since San Francisco can't be considered the wilderness by any stretch of the imagination.

Of course, on the way to the campsite we had to stop to see our elephant seal friends in San Simeon. This time, it was the complete opposite time of year and the females were there with their new pups (so cute!) as well as the fully adult males who were sparring and trying to mate with the females at every turn. I was sure the little ones would get smothered by the several ton males and I'm sure it happens. It was interesting to hear the difference in the sounds made by mom, baby and the males. As you can see, the seals were much closer to the land and there were a ton (!!) of people.

Click here for more of my photos from the elephant seal rookery.

We had rented a tent cabin at the Fernwood Resort and it was pretty nice for the price complete with a locking door, picnic table, chair, etc. and we were right on the river and surrounded by redwoods.

Unfortunately, here is where our misfortunes began and I was sick all night so we had to leave right away in the morning and drive to Monterey to get me fixed up! At least the view along with PCH was beautiful!

Once we'd taken care of that we headed to Point Lobos. The original plan was to try to see some whales, but it was sprinkling a bit so we just wandered through the (huge) preserve and took in all the beauty. We saw some birds, sea otters playing in the water and cypress trees among other things. Here's some history about the place.

"Over the past 150 years, this area has played host to a virtual parade of human activity. At one time or another, Point Lobos has been home to Native Americans, Chinese fishermen, Japanese abalone harvesters, and Portuguese whalers. It has been the site of an abalone cannery, coal mining business, granite quarry, military base, and numerous film productions."

(Jeff Thomson, Explore...Point Lobos State Reserve, © 1997 Walkabout Publications)

lace lichen hung from many of the trees

We saw the otters near here. I loved how they were lying on their backs with their feet up. Looked so playful and carefree.

Click here for more of my photos from Point Lobos.

Once we left the preserve we drove to San Francisco and right to our hotel. Had a great dinner at Cafe Maritime and rested for the next day. In the morning we went to Alcatraz Island which was a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I snapped this photo of a hummingbird:

Anna's hummingbird

They have a bird sanctuary there, but it was closed off because of the season. Still, beautiful views of San Francisco from Alcatraz. Such a picturesque city.

Click here for more of my photos from Alcatraz Island.