Twenty minutes into our hike, we stepped off the trail and settled into a lunch spot with a view of Mt. Ashland. Day 45 of isolation for us also happened to be Reg’s birthday, so we celebrated with a hike along a short section of the iconic Pacific Crest Trail.
Our turnaround spot was the Hobart Bluff viewpoint, a destination we thought was just over two miles from our starting point. Four miles later, after climbing steadily uphill and dodging a few patches of snow, we arrived. A much longer walk than we intended, but well worth it!
Rising above Pismo Beach on California’s Central Coast, Pismo Preserve offers 880 acres of unspoiled beauty. Opened to the public just last week, we were excited to be among the first to explore the 11 miles of hiking trails that weave up and down the hillside.
We chose the Discovery Trail, a 5.2 mile path that led us up the grassy slopes and through groves of twisted oaks. The views were stunning…we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.
We traveled the perimeter of the preserve, eventually arriving at Lover’s Point, 780 feet above the Pacific Ocean. As luck would have it, there was a bench and it was lunchtime.
The trail system is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with hours extended to 9:30 p.m. from March through October. Best of all, it’s free! Parking is competitive…the lot is on the small side, but you might get lucky. We had to park about a quarter mile away and walk in. There are restrooms and drinking water available at the parking lot.
Pismo Preserve is located at 80 Mattie Road, just off Highway 101 in Pismo Beach, California.
As pleasant as the above scene looks, Sunday morning brought horrendously strong winds to the area, foiling the plans of any walker in his or her right mind. Our host was kind enough to keep our packs for us until we could catch the afternoon bus to Pendeen, our stop for the night.
The photos really don’t do the wind justice, but trust me, it was howling. Fortunately, St. Ives is home to the Tate, where we wandered through 10 galleries of modern art, pretending to understand what we saw.
The mine closed in 1990, but a museum and underground tour (complete with hard hats), are both available to the public. We skipped past the big ticket items and wandered down to check out the ruins of the original North Levant mine.
Tomorrow we will arrive at Land’s End, our stopping point and the end of our South West Coast Path adventure. We really hope to walk the last section…rain or shine. We’ll see what the morning brings.
There are so many more memories to capture beyond the beautiful scenery of the South West Coast Path. Here are a few of our favorites.
We tried to walk yesterday…we really did. We left our B&B at 9:00 in the morning under gray skies and threat of rain and strong winds. After a quick stop to pick up lunch at the local SPAR store, we left Padstow, wishing we could have spent more time poking around the upscale harbor town.
By 10:30, we were sipping tea at the Trevone Beach cafe, cold, wet and frustrated that Mother Nature had whisked away our beautiful weather. We had a nice chat with an older couple who were traveling in their camper van. As he told story after story of his exploits, swimming, hiking and mountain biking, she would continually remind him, “That was 40 years ago.”
We eventually decided our best option was to catch the bus back to Padstow where we could relax with a nice glass of wine while waiting for a later bus to drop us at our next lodging. As we watched to flag our bus down, our friends in their camper van drove past, tooting and waving.
It was a long crazy day, but we eventually made it to Old McDonalds Farm, where our room awaited. Many thanks to the Atlantic Coaster – bus line A5
We enjoyed a spectacular afternoon today with our friend Ian, who just happened to be on holiday, visiting with longtime friend Julie and her family in the big white house pictured above. The photo on the right is the view from the front room. A gorgeous setting that is situated right along the South West Coast Path.
We took a short walk to Polzeath Beach, a popular surfing beach. Then, Julie treated us to a delicious home cooked mid-day meal, a wonderful treat after 2 weeks on the trail. We felt terribly spoiled as Ian later drove us (through the pouring rain) to our B&B in Padstow. A great big thank you to Ian, Julie and her family for sharing the afternoon with us!
Our restful two nights ended in a flurry of anxiety when I discovered an email last night buried in our junk folder. Our reservation for tonight (Saturday), one that had been confirmed last February, had been canceled! Madly searching for an alternative proved fruitless Friday night, everyplace we called was booked. Finally, this morning, after some determination and creative problem solving, we found an alternative and managed to avoid a night on the park bench.
This morning the path led us out of Braunton, upstream alongside the River Taw to Barnstaple where we stopped for tea, then crossed the river, where we turned and followed the same river back downstream to Instow. Not the most inspiring walk, but the sun was shining and we knew we’d have a roof over our heads at the end of the day.
I suggested we grab a bottle of gas station wine and some KFC from the takeout next to our room. I was tired, but while I was showering Reg made other plans. “We’ll have to walk about a mile, he said, but I found a pub that looks like it might be a little better than Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
Sue climbs a flight of the 30,000 stairs on England’s South West Coast Path. No, I did not add a zero. But I am adding as we walk. So far, 2,159 stairs in five days, 64 miles, and 13,200 feet of ascent.
But this is not a story best told by the numbers.