Thursday, March 13, 2014

Moss Landing

My bed at the hostel was amazingly comfortable and I slept like an angel drifting on a cloud, the room was filled with other guys, not one bed empty, but no one snored or if they did I was undisturbed by it. I really hope I don’t snore loudly, I would hate to be the guy known for snoring in the hostel dorm, everyone dislikes that guy. I was in little hurry to get back to the aquarium, as I remembered the line that had formed before opening the prior day. I took my time making breakfast and getting ready before heading out. It was a beautiful day outside, sun shining, making it just hot enough that the cool ocean breeze felt delightful, nearly Caribbean, as I took the short walk to the aquarium. 
Clown Fish

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Big Fish

The others decided to venture out for the day, some off to new places, some just off to explore the beautiful city of Monterey. I decided to return to the aquarium, hoping the crowds had decreased by now. The morning had been somewhat chilly, forcing me to dawn a coat, but the sun had now warmed the landscape and its beating rays mixed with the cool ocean breeze created a perfect climate outside. 
We'll start with a baby sea turtle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was just a couple blocks down the street from my hostel. I decided to walk down and check out one of the world’s largest aquariums, a sprawling facility that sits along the shore on a site that used to be a sardine cannery, which lends its name to the shop lined street leading to the aquarium, Cannery Row. I walked to the aquarium along Cannery Row, the touristy shops just opening at this early hour. When I got to the aquarium there was already a line, stretching out the door and part way down the sidewalk. 

I was taken aback by the lines length, I figure at such an early hour, on a weekday, I would have been joined by few others. The line moved along briskly and soon I was inside the aquarium, feeling giddy at the prospect of seeing amazing sea creatures up close. Most of the crowd headed to the right, eager to get to the sea otter tank, so I headed to the left in an attempt to find some solitude in the meandering facility, the effort was futile, however, as I found myself surrounded by a herd of school students out on a field trip.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Where's Whale-do?

It had been the coldest night I had dealt with since the redwoods, but I managed to get a good nights rest in, it was daylight before I could no longer stand it. I walked over to the car, turning it on to allow the heat to get working. I packed up my tent and belongings as quickly as possible, trying desperately to get out of the cold and into the fractionally warmer vehicle. I had only one trail that the ranger had suggested to me left to explore. I drove to the trail head as the sun crept its way over the mountains, graciously filling the valley with its warm light. 
Me taking pictures of myself!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yosemite Valley

Periodically throughout the night the thunder from the storm woke me, the rain seemed to be unrelenting, the steep granite cliff behind the campsite protected the area from wind so the ten had little work to do in keeping back the onslaught of precipitation. By the time I awoke for the day the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and as I ate breakfast completely ceased. 

I had decided to forego any climbing hikes for the day, instead stringing together three easy hikes into what would be a 14 mile hike. While the hike would be long the flatness would make up for it, the previous days hike had been a staggering 9.2 miles, half of that up steep hills. I hit the trail eager to put some miles behind me.
Fog lifting off the granite cliffs. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Into the Valley

There come days in every trip where one just need to relax, and relax is what I did the next day. I could try and write a couple paragraphs about how I sat around watching television and stuffing my face with Rora’s cooking, she had been gracious enough to not only house me but also serve me a cornucopia of baked goods and an amazing pasta dinner, I can’t thank her enough, but I’ve decided instead to leave the days summary here in this first paragraph.
Swinging inch worm.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mariposa Grove

I awoke to the sound of birds chattering in the trees above my camp. I attempted to go back to sleep but the insistent chirping was not going to allow that to happen. As I wiggled out of my sleeping bag my body was introduced to the cold air, outside the tent the ground was covered in frost. I grabbed some food and headed to my car, turning it on to allow the frost to melt. I had decided that I wanted to spend the day at the Maripose Groves, a section of the park that housed specimens of the worlds largest tree, the Sequoia Redwood. The sequoia is more massive than the Coastal Redwood, but not as tall. 
Deer in a frosty meadow. 
The sun was just cresting over the mountains as I drove through the valley, a family of deer grazed on the frosted grass, taking no interest in me as I pulled over to capture a photograph. The Mariposa Grove is about an hour drive to the south from the valley. The drive offered amazing views of the mountain range as I climbed up the side. After driving through a long tunnel I was greater with a tremendous view stretching out below me. A cloud of fog was still settled in a valley, blanketed the earth as it crept down the mountain sides, a lake of grey water evaporating in the sunlight. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Golden Gate Park

I returned to the hostel and made dinner, it was still just me and the two ladies, the building was silent other than the crackling of the fire in the living room. I cooked and had dinner alone watching the waves crash against the bluffs out the dinning room window. A haze hovered low in the sky adding a misty glaze to the peaceful panorama. After dinner I headed out to have a look at the lighthouse, it’s blinking beacon illuminating the dark evening. I walked down out to the edge of the bluffs, the splash from the waves nearly reaching the top. Away from shore the ocean seemed calm, a rolling plain of blue stretching into the darkness. I sat on the bluff for awhile, a group of kids searched a cove below, trying to find some life in the rocky shelter. 
View from my dorm window.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tidal Pools of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

I awoke to the bright sun sneaking in through the cracks in the drapes, I had slept far longer then I had been as of late, the lack of noisy roommates letting me slumber undisturbed. The sky was blue and clear, a hopeful sign that my outing to the tide pool wouldn’t be a repeat of the prior day. The hostel had a strange policy where you had to leave while they cleaned, although I had little intention of spending the beautiful day cooped up indoors. 

Low tide wasn’t till 3:06, so I drove off in search of something to do, pulling off to go explore Milagra Ridge County Park. I choose this place simply because I saw the sign for it. The park didn’t even have a parking lot, so I pulled over to the side of the road and headed up the trailhead. A cold wind was blowing in from the sea, a boil of hawks drifting in the updrafts. I ambled about the park, admiring the wildflowers and plethora of avian species. At the Milagra summit the wind whipped violently, forcing me to descend rather quickly as the cold air nipped at my exposed flesh. Lower on the ridge were old military bunkers tucked into the side of the hill, abandoned they were, a seeming trend in the area, coated in graffiti. The wind erased all the sound from the air, creating a haunting silence as I sauntered about killing time. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rainy Day

I awoke to the sound of rain playing music on the stone driveway outside my window. The ambient dripping a soothing alarm clock. The others in the room were still sleeping so I headed out into the living room, making my self a cup of tea and returning to the indent in the couch I had started working on the evening before. I had planned on camping out once again, but the weather called for persistent and heavy rain for the rest of the day, so I abandoned that idea and looked around for another hostel. 

While driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, I saw two hostels that were lighthouses, I knew at least one of these options was not terribly far away, and staying in a lighthouse overlooking the ocean on a stormy night seemed like a perfect way to spend the evening. I took my time getting ready in the morning, not terribly eager to venture out into the wet weather. When I finally got my stuff packed and headed out, I found my car surrounded by a gang of turkeys, who seemed rather upset by my unexpected appearance. The turkeys scattered as I packed up my car and started the engine, running frantically, erratically in all directions, a mass chaos of gobbling.