Point Lobos, California Hike

While on a book speaking tour in California, I had a few days where I didn’t have any talks.  One one of those days, while I was staying in Santa Cruz, I drove down the coast to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.  I was using my down time to get some work done but also needed some exercise.

I had to park along the freeway, as the parking lot was full.  As I walked in, I asked the woman in the booth what trails she would recommend for someone who wanted a good workout.  She suggested climbing to the highest point in the park, Whaler’s Knoll.  I made a note of that, then headed out.

Based on the map I had, I thought it made the most sense to try to do a big loop, with a side trip up to the highpoint for some elevation gain.  I headed mostly northwest, to begin with, worked my way around the edge of the Reserve, took a detour up to the top of the Reserve, then returned to finish my loop around the edge.  I ended up back where I started, doing about 5 miles of hiking and seeing most of the Reserve.

Sea lions nest on part of the Reserve.  While I was there, that spot was blocked off as there were babies and they didn’t want people disturbing them.  However, it was possible to still see the sea lions from a distance.  There were also a lot of birds in the area and some really pretty beaches.

I didn’t get the impression that there were a lot of good places to stop for a picnic, but if you’re interested in nature and wildlife, Point Lobos State Nature Reserve has a lot to offer.

My GPS route:

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California Trip – day 9 – Travel Town Museum and Griffith Observatory

This was our last day in California.  Debi was in her conference most of the day, so Toren and I went on another adventure.  I found out that the Travel Town Train Museum was giving free tours in the morning.  Toren likes trains but doesn’t love them.  I thought it would be fun and it was okay.  He liked the fact that he got to climb into a couple of engines and play with the levers:

After the train museum, we drove to Ferndell Park so we could hike up to the Griffith Observatory.  Toren fell asleep in the car on the way, so I let him sleep for about an hour, then we hiked up to the Observatory (about 2 miles round trip).

on the way up to the Observatory
on the way up to the Observatory

Toren liked the Observatory for the most part. We didn’t get to watch a show as they only allow kids 5 and older to see them. But we looked over most of the exhibits and did get to look through the telescope.

Just before looking through the telescope
Just before looking through the telescope, which is right behind him

After we hiked back down we headed back to the hotel. Just as we arrived, one of my friends from graduate school called. He saw a couple of the photos I had posted on Facebook from our trip to Griffith Observatory and realized that we weren’t far from him. He had just moved to Irvine to work for Oculus (I didn’t know he had moved as he only moved a couple weeks earlier). He was able to arrange us a tour of Oculus where we got to check out the tech (it’s really amazing) and catch up with him, which was even more fun since I hadn’t seen him in ages and he’s a really great guy.

We then got dinner and headed back to our hotel.

That pretty much did it. We flew back to Florida on the morning of the 13th.

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California Trip – day 5 – Riley’s Farm and Heart Rock

We headed out of Anaheim again on the 8th.  Toren has never really spent any time on a farm. We visited a milk cattle operation once, but Toren is growing up in the city.  I thought a farm might be rather novel for him.  A recommendation on red tricycle suggested Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen.  Oak Glen is famous for apples, which Toren doesn’t like.  But Riley’s Farm has a bunch of other activities.  So, we headed to Riley’s Farm on the 8th.

We got there just after a tour started, and another wouldn’t start for a while, so we joined the tour that was in progress.  That meant we missed one station.  It was a colonial era tour and they were showing people what life was like during colonial times.  The guides were in period costume and tried to act the part (I got ours to break character because I like doing that).  The group that we were with was almost exclusively intellectually disabled; it was a field trip.  There were two other boys, a few years older than Toren, who were also there with their mother.  They raced motocross and were home schooled.  And, they were the first young boys I had met who have hair longer than Toren’s.

We missed the quill and ink writing station but caught up to the tour in time to churn butter, which Toren didn’t want to do.  We then weaved yarn:

After weaving, we helped make apple cider:

We also got to dip candles, though they gave us a candle as a starter:

The final activity was some colonial period games.  Toren picked one up pretty well:

We finished up right around lunch time, so we ate at the restaurant on site.  It was pretty good, but the best part was the fresh out of the oven bread, which Toren loved as well:

After lunch, we drove to Crestline, California to do a hike I found to a water-eroded indent in a rock that is shaped like a heart.  It was about a mile and a half hike.  Here’s a video of the Heart Rock:

Toren did the whole thing.  He’s a budding hiker!

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