Big Sur is beautiful. We’ve been before but it was brief and we were exhausted from travel. This time we were looking forward to exploring, taking in the green scenery and breathing easy a bit more.
California State Parks in general are a lot of fun. If we lived in California and had a car natch, I think an annual day pass would be a lot of fun for exploration. Maybe that’s just ‘Vacation Me’ talking.
We went for a hike and while some of the signs pointed us in the same general direction, eventually there was a fork in the road where we had to choose. In the end we decided to hike to both. Not wanting to overpack, I was wearing non-hiking-appropriate footwear (Vans) but was careful in picking my path when extra tread might have been more helpful.
The air was dry and it was warm by the time we wound back around to Valley View. The tree cover provided shade for most of the hike until we emerged to a long range view of the dense forests. As always, I’m a sucker for macros and textures. Curly moss and bark of two different trees. Shoes covered in dry summer dust, we came back to the site where our cute yellow tent was set up to play some cards until dinner time.
I heard about Jade Cove Beach while combing Yelp reviews for our trip to California. Being coastal adventurers appealed to me, so I added it to the list of things we might check out during our drive up &/or down the California coast in October 2012.
It is likely you will miss the shoulder turn-out that is nearest Jade Cove Beach. We did, but managed to pull off 1/2 mile up the road & trek back by foot to the trail head.
Ooh, look down there. At first you will find yourself on a meandering trail along the top of a bluff. & then you will find yourself doing switchbacks and the trail gets steep. & then…then, you find a rope that some kind benefactor has tied so you can have the fake confidence as you rappel down the side.
Yes. You heard me: rappel.
Once you’re down there, there are a bunch of tide pools to climb to and explore.
My favorite seaweed finds.
Below is me on the climb back up, hoping that this rope is tied as secure as I want it to be. Real shoes definitely recommended. It isn’t the place for a lot of loose accessories or bags.
There’s no official ‘Coastal Adventurer’ badge handed out once you reach the top again, but there might as well be! What a remote little find on the California coast.
Crystal Cove is one of my favorite places to visit in California because like so many state parks and beaches, there are a ton of different nooks and crannies to explore.
The weather on this trip was grey and overcast, perfect for a misty walk.
The cliffs have amazing textures and colors caused by the erosion of the waves.
If I hadn’t taken pictures of this, I wouldn’t have believed we saw it washed up on shore. Look at those teeth! I think it was an eel before it met its bloated and untimely demise.
And if you’re feeling adventurous enough, you can go explore potential tide-pools. The tide was a little too high this time around.
A trip to California most definitely means a trip to In-N-Out. In this case, four trips. We covered a lot of ground & when in doubt for a place to eat, we sought out the nearest location for a inexpensive meal. I’ve mentioned it before: In-N-Out is pretty great. I like secret codes. I like fresh ingredients. I like consistency.
October 13th: Sure, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs on our first trip. SO GOOD. The lady at the table next to us couldn’t contain herself (I also don’t think she had ever seen them ‘animal style’ – with the sauce, sauteed onions, & cheese). She finally asked, “Are you two really going to eat all that?” & I grinned and said “Yes.. it’s delicious.” She gave a disapproving stare. Later she proceeded to steal fries from her teenage daughter’s tray. What a weird world we live in.
October 16th: Taken halfway through eating because I realize In-N-Out is fun to document.
October 19th: You can tell as the trip progressed, we’ve really honed our orders to exactly what we want. We often share fries which is why one is ‘animal style’ & one isn’t.
October 21st: Our last visit was on the day before we flew back to Toronto. Our last kick at the can was a straight forward one. When in doubt, our beverage of choice is a Neapolitan milkshake or a Dr. Pepper.
On our drive up the coast, we stopped by to explore Santa Monica Pier & have a picnic lunch. There is a carousel from the 1920’s, an aquarium, arcade, trapeze school & tourist shops.
A highlight was seeing two Zoltar fortune telling machines standing guard outside the arcade. (“I wish I were big.” & yes, I got a fortune…and was very careful to not make any erroneous wishes during the process.
I grew up sandwiched between a cluster of suburban beach towns. San Clemente is one of those towns. It is known for nice climate, Spanish colonial architecture (nothing like a good ol adobe roof tile) & being the “Western White House” for a post-resignation Richard Nixon in the process of writing his memoirs.
I just never get tired of visiting the Getty when we’re in Los Angeles. This time we took their architecture tour which offered some interesting nuggets of information about the materials (16,000 tons of Italian travertine) & design behind the structure itself (30-inch squares arranged in a grid).
One of my favorite things to do at the end of summer is visit the Ex. The Canadian Exhibition is basically a gigantic carnival that lasts 2.5 weeks, symbolically drawing summer to a close on Labor Day weekend.
One of the highlights this year was sitting in a CF-18. AND a Snowbird. I pushed a lot of the buttons & turned a lot of the knobs. & the ejection seat button.
I find it the most fun to go for their “$5 after 5pm” deal. It isn’t too hot & often is less crowded because people with families have run out of steam by that point. & the Midway is so much prettier once the lights are on!
This year we got caught in an absolute downpour of rain that sent everyone into the Food Building for cover. Once I got over being soaking wet (aw man!) – it did make for some gorgeous photos. See you next year, CNE!
We visited the Canadian War Museum during our trip to Ottawa. We could have spent a lot more time there – there are numerous exhibits about Canada’s military history & its involvement within international conflicts.
One of my favorite parts was the LeBreton Gallery, which is a large multipurpose room that houses artifacts & vehicles from all over the world from the 18th century to the present.
We took a quick jaunt to Ottawa the other week. I’m looking forward to going back sometime – there are many more museums I’d like to visit & I’d also like to go on a tour of Parliament.
We did get a chance to visit the National Gallery & the Van Gogh exhibit. The architecture of the museum itself is quite beautiful.
& of course I took copious photos of Maman, the giant 30-feet-talk spider sculpture that resides outside the museum.