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I got what I asked for

December 26, 2008
2008 Winter West Coast Road Trip-10th in a series

I got up early, packed, checked out of the Redwood Hostel and was on the road by 8:00am heading south.  It was  a beautiful day.  My destination – the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel near Pescadero, CA.  The drive south was wonderful.  Passing through Eureka and then inland a bit.  I wanted coastline so I headed west off the main drag to Fort Bragg and down the coast on the 1.  Well, I got what I asked for.  It was spectacular but such a work out.  The road wound into and out of every ravine and up hill and down hill and I was only averaging about 25mph I think.  Magnificent vistas, but I’d never get there at this rate.

dscn5971So, I headed back out to the 101 and south which took me right over the Golden Gate Bridge and through the middle of downtown San Francisco.  My iPhone GPS performed marvelously; it got me through town, out to the coast and right into the parking lot of the hostel.  It was getting dark just as I approached San Fran, so I was glad to have that little gadget.

dscn6004I got checked in and explored a little.  Built in 1871, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse itself still functions as an aid to navigation and is a museum now.  There are also four other three bedroom houses in addition to the keeper’s house that used to house lighthouse keepers and coast guardsmen; they are now the hostel.  The whole facility sits on a rocky promontory and can be seen from quite a distance north and south.

I spent four nights here.  The first couple days, including Christmas day, were pretty bad outside; high winds, rain and very cold.  Too miserable to go out in.  There were plenty of other guests and we mostly all stayed in and played games, talked, took naps, whatever.  It was quite nice.

The day after Christmas was glorious.  dscn6013Blue skies, just a breeze and the temp had warmed up nicely, so I got out and about.  I drove down to the Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve to do some hiking.  This part of the coast is the largest mainland elephant seal breeding colony in the world.  I checked in at the interpretive center to register for a walk, since it’s a wildlife reserve, we have to be escorted, but only in the winter.  I never did figure out why that is.  But, I had a wonderful hike along trails through the brush and on the sand dunes and amongst the willows, and of course amongst the elephant seals.

dscn6045-copy-2They were all over the place, hundreds of them.  We’d be hiking along and come around a bend and there’s one in our path.  We had to be careful to stay back at least 25 feet from them; as long we did that, we were OK.  These things weigh 3000 – 4000 pounds each, all they’d have to do is knock you down and roll on you and you’re toast.  It was a great day of hiking and scenery, it felt great to be out.

After a few hours at the park, I headed to a nearby town to pick up some supplies and then back to the hostel for a relaxing evening.  It was lovely out and the stars were many and clear.

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