Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seaside to Monterey Bay

California Coastal Trail (CCT)
Seaside to Monterey
Distance: 3.5 miles
Hiking Time 2 hours
Jo, Mary and Julie

We did it! I've walked the beach from Santa Cruz to Monterey - over 40 miles. I've done most of it barefoot and in the sand. Glad I made it before the end of the year. It was great to finish up this last leg. We did this hike on November 11th - Veteran's Day and two days before Josephine went into surgery.

We drove both cars to Monterey and left mine there. Mary showed me a new and much easier way to get to the aquarium. It follows the coastline, so we could pretty much see what we were going to walk. We knew this was going to be a short one and only about half of it on the beach. We jumped into Jo's car and headed back to Seaside.

There was a lot of construction going on at the hotel, with backhoes digging up sand. It looks like they were trying to shore up the foundation of the hotel, which is located right on the beach. After passing the hotel, we saw a big cross on the hill. Mary and I climbed up to it. On the other side you could see the beginning of the bike path to Monterey.

We climbed back down to the beach. You could see Monterey and the aquarium on the far side of the bay. The beach was flat and the waves small. Ideal walking conditions.

We could look north and see the whole coastline that we had covered. It was quite a feeling of accomplishment to have seen all that coastline - step by step.

Even though we weren't planning on picking up rocks - especially Josephine who was determined to stop collecting - we all found some interesting shells. I found a rock with a fossilized worm hole on it. Mary, who is a biologist, knew all the correct names of our various treasures.

The beach walk lasted for about two miles. It was a lovely clear day. In the distance in front of us we could see the beginning of the Monterey wharf.

We arrived at the wharf and put our shoes back on. The rest of this hike wouldn't be in the sand. We walked out to the end of the wharf and watched the fisherman. There are several wharves, a yacht harbor and then of course you get to Cannery Row and the Aquarium.

When we were looking at all the boats we had Mary point out one which was the size of the boat that she and her husband Frank and their two (then) young sons sailed around the world in for five years. It looked like a really small boat for four people to be living in, but what an adventure that was.

We heard music in the distance and went to explore. It turned out there was an old car show going on, so we walked through and each picked out our favorite car to have our picture taken with.

We kept walking and came to Fisherman's Wharf. We walked up and down the wharf and tasted all the free clam chowder samples that the restaurants had out front to lure you in. We tasted about five different samples. Delicious! However, we had our hearts set on shrimp at Bubba Gumps, so we headed on our way. We were getting hungry after all our samples.

We walked through Cannery Row and came across this mural of Doc and the boys. Jo and Mary decided to join them. Monterey is a fun place to walk through, looking at the various shops, restaurants, wineries, hotels, etc. It was a pleasant reminder of what a nice town this is to visit. Especially now that Mary showed me whete that free parking is. Lots to see and do.

We headed to Bubba Gumps. We had drinks in the bar while we waited to get a table. We hadn't thought to make a reservation. We had a toast to completing the trail. Then we feasted on delicious hush puppies and steamed shrimp. Absolutely delicious. It was getting late so we headed to the car. It's a very scenic section of coast.

It was a great day. Good friends, good walking, good food and a completion of a goal. Now I have to decide where to go hiking next now that this section of the CCT is done. Life is a beach!

Lessons Learned: It's a great feeling to accomplish your goal. wallking has given me a whole new feeling about this section of coastline. Love those shrimp and hushpuppies!