Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 2: Ocean Views and Sea Life

Today started with the standard breakfast buffet at the hotel, followed by an hour drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1).  Our destination was the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, specifically McWay Falls.  I’m sure everyone has seen photos of McWay Falls, it is the waterfall cascading of the rock cliff onto a sandy beach with the blue ocean waves coming the sandy shore to meet the falls.  It is one of the pictures everyone thinks of when they think of Big Sur.  I wanted to see the falls in person, so we made the hour drive down Route 1.   Along the drive we stopped at a few pull offs,  one of a lovely bridge, named Rocky Creek Bridge, which is just to the north of Bixby Creek Bridge.   We also stopped at the information and ranger station before arriving at McWay Falls.  The trail to McWay Falls was an easy quarter mile walk that provided views of the falls from several different angles.  I will say the falls in person lived up to the pictures I have seen.  The only thing I wished was that we had a more interesting sky or were there closer to sunset.  However, the morning was nice since there were very few people allowing us to get the pictures we wanted without jostling for a position.   After the falls we made the drive back up one to Monterey.  

Rocky Creek Bridge

McWay Falls

We got back into Monterey around lunch time, so we decided to eat at the Hula Girl restaurant for lunch before heading over to the aquarium.  The food at the Hula Girl was good, Jim enjoyed the kulua pork and Thai chicken I had was good.  After lunch we headed to the aquarium, which I had high hopes for, but was slightly disappointed in it.  While the Monterey Aquarium is big,  it seemed poorly laid out, and in my opinion has more interactive displays then aquariums full of fish.  It was a nice aquarium but not worth the close to 40 dollar entrance fee.  I was even disappointed in the sea otter exhibit, and I love sea otters.  So I felt a little let down.   Afterwords we stopped for frozen yogurt and walked along the touristy street to get back to our car.  We then headed to the hotel for a quick stop before going out again, to the beach to see the tidal pools.

Anemones at Aquarium
I had elevated hopes, for tidal pool viewing since I have never been to a tidal pool.  Alas, all I saw was one tiny hermit crab and a bunch of snails.  I was really hoping to see a starfish or something interesting like that.  But that is okay, I did get a few nice pictures of waves crashing against the rocks.  Overall, it was a good day.

Beach along Ocean Side Drive, Location of Tidal Pools

Tomorrow we make our way to Yosemite National Park.  That is supposed to be about a four hour drive.  So the day may not be that interesting, but we’ll see.

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