SUMMARY: Big Sur and Monterey.UPDATE: Tuesday Feb 22, 10:30 a.m. See below.
Set the alarm *again* (merely 7:00 this time) so that my seester and her husband could pick me up at 8. We drove down the Coast Highway (Hwy 1), loving the scenery, stopping to briefly explore various places, geocaching as we went; had lunch at a restaurant they like (Nepenthe) wayyy down the coast, then turned and beat feet back north, had hot fudge sundaes at Ghirardelli's on Cannery Row, then home again.
I am really really sore from yesterday's hike. Must. Get. In. Uphill. Shape.
Some brief highlights from the day:
We skimmed through the old Fort Ord, passing its decrepit buildings, trying to find our way to--
--the [relatively] new Fort Ord Dunes State Park. We got out, read all the signs, looked at the view and the ice-plant-covered dunes, and then continued south.
What better scenery could one imagine for geocaching in?
There wasn't yet a profusion of flowers, but small samples of what is to come could be found almost everywhere we stopped, like this Indian Paintbrush.
The Big Sur coast speaks for itself.
I mean, really, how many geocachers get this kind of view?
I mean, I really do, I really mean, how awesome is this for a geocaching background?
UPDATE: Really needed to show the Point Sur Lighthouse. It's no longer manned but still shines and its location on a dramatic outcropping of lava is amazing.
We even found one at Cooper's Cabin--the oldest remaining building on the Big Sur coast, UPDATE: (at Andrew Molera State Park) near Pacific Grove.
There, to our surprise and delight, we also found Monarchs fluttering everywhere! As one young kid explained to us with enthusiasm, these butterflies are trying to make babies.
The only California poppies we saw in bloom:
Is this the most amazing setting for a restaurant that you've ever seen? We sat at the table in the right bottom corner.
We had a tasty and filling lunch, browsed in their intriguing gift shop, drove an hour back up the coast , drove past Pebble Beach to Asilomar to round out our geocaches for the day to 10, then continued to Monterey and Cannery Row where we just HAD to visit Ghirardelli's for the usual.
Strolling back among the hotels and shops, we spotted this guy out in the water among the kelp--and of course I had left my 400mm lens in the car, so this is a very cropped in, crappy photo, but he is recognizable: California Sea Otter.
Then home again by sometime after dinnertime, and then work work work on photos, give up on finishing tonight, and post these three summaries. At some point in the future, there will be more photos from all the trips!