|Spring flowers add a gentle touch to the rugged coastline |
along Highway One near Carmel, California.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve was a mere five-minute drive from our Carmel, California Hyatt resort. Dedicated to preserving native relationships of the unique animal and plant life, geologic features, and scenic qualities found in their natural state along Highway One, the Reserve is a wonderland of ocean, trails, coves, and meadows.
|The coastline along South Shore Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve|
|Coastal scene along the Cypress Cove Trail at Point Lobos State |
Reserve near Carmel, California
To see all that Point Lobos offered, Larry and I walked several trails, starting with the South Shore Trail near the parking lot between Sea Lion Point and Bird Island. The accessible one-mile trail took us along cliffs with a magnificent ocean view and through one of nature’s lovely seaside gardens filled with dunes, rocks, splashing surf, caves, and driftwood. Sea Lion Point and Sand Hill Trail include cove overlooks and easy views of sea lions resting on rocks offshore or basking on the beach--moms tending their young as our visit was during ‘pup” season.
|Monterey cypress trees frame the ocean on Cypress Grove Trail.|
|Old Veteran cypress tree is estimated to be at least 300 years old.|
These cypresses formerly extended over a much wider range but withdrew to the fog-shrouded headlands as the climate changed 15,000 years ago. The outermost trees reflect the forces of nature and time—they survived salt spray and wind with their roots seeking nourishment in whatever cracks and crevices could be found. A short side trail led to “Old Veteran,” a cypress tree about 300-350 years old. Even though it has split (possibly from lightning) it is still growing and sports a leafy canopy.
|Deer can be seen in the meadows of Point Lobos State Reserve.|
Our last trail was to Bird Island. To get to the trailhead we drove to the southernmost parking area, passing by two white, sandy beaches—China Beach and Gibson Beach. We then hiked the path highlighting pine forest, coastal scrub, rocky shores, and beautiful wildflower displays.
Notable were the huge boulders where thousands of sea birds roost during spring and summer. Cormorants nest close together on the flat part of the island, while sea otters rest in kelp offshore.
|Mother seal tending to her pup at the beach below Bird Island Trail.|
|Birds come by the thousands to roost on the rocks, which have a |
distinctive white covering--and smell!
|Beachcombers enjoy relatively secluded Gibson Beach at the |
southernmost end of Point Lobos State Reserve
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier