There are times you just need to get away and get a new perspective on life. It is just good for your soul, plain and simple. It would be a day trip for me. It would be a three hour drive on a holiday weekend. Not ideal because the California traffic is not a myth. My trip was on but now, where to go?
I thought about all the national parks. The weather forecast was going to be rainy and maybe snowy depending on elevation so those were out. The other choice then is to go to the coast. There are lots of little towns and beaches and parks there. The first thought was Pismo Beach. A nice little town and beach. Very close to it though was Montana de Oro State Park. It was one place I had never been and it was supposed to have a lot of different kinds of birds. Saturday had the best weather of the weekend. So it was set. I would go to Montana de Oro and hopefully see some black oystercatchers.
I decided to leave early because it was a weekend. You never know if a state park will have no available parking and then you can’t get in. I say one of California’s exports should be people. It seems like there are a few too many in the state. Since I had never been there, I decided to hopefully beat the crowds by leaving at 5a.m. My best laid plans at 4 in the morning on Saturday ended up being in bed for another 20 minutes. I left about 30 minutes later than I had planned.
I packed a lunch and coffee is always good in the morning but at that early hour, it is a necessity. I had my camera and my binoculars and down the road I went. After the best kind of trip, uneventful that is, I arrived at my destination. There were some narrow, curvy roads and some traffic even though the weather was cloudy and overcast. There was even a little mist on the windshield every now and then. I had done some research beforehand. This is one thing to always do. My reading told me to drive through the park to the last parking lot and find a place to park there. I was extremely happy I knew that. The first parking lot was full and traffic backed up there with people trying to find a place to park. After a short drive through the park I came to the end of the road and a large parking lot that had plenty of empty spaces. I could take my pick. Just a note here. Later in the day, the traffic at the first parking lot gets even worse but I had no troubles at all.
After putting on my stocking hat and donning my day pack, I set off down the trail. Yes, this was what I saw. It really was a well-groomed trail and handicapped accessible. It was also fairly level making walking easy and fun. It was cloudy and windy and misty but I was warm and dry thanks to some good clothing choices on my part. Hiking pants and boots and a warm long-sleeved shirt and my winter vest. I shared the trail this morning with almost an infinite number of little bunnies. I hiked along to the symphony of the sparrows and the ocean. I was taking my time and stopping to take lots of pictures.
Through the wind and the light rain and the side trips to the tidal pools and stopping to take pictures, it took me about 3 hours to hike what I would find out is just over two miles. The rain subsided and I ate lunch above the main beach, Schooner Beach. I watched a small family wedding taking place as I ate. I got some information from the lady running the store about another beach that is not used as much and the snowy plovers were nesting there.
I had to get back to the car before I could get to the other beach. The quickest way was back on the path I just came on. But first a quick change of some things because it had warmed up and the mist had stopped. Back to the car I hurried.
I will finish the story next week. Sometimes it is needed to come apart and worship God by being out in His second book, nature. We can get close to Him just by being outside and seeing what He has created just for us.