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!
Because Reg and I both were quite sick in early March, we are entering into our fourth week of self-isolation at home in Oregon. Did we have the virus? Who knows, but timing, as they say, is everything. These past few weeks have given us much time to reflect.
We returned from England and our South West Coast Path adventure last year in early October. As it turns out, over the past six months, our timing has been extremely fortunate. Two days after returning home, I found myself driving 600 miles south, to California, to assist my 93 year old father who was still living in my family home…alone. I bullied him (yes, I did) into a move to an assisted living facility, both for his safety and our family’s peace of mind. A fortuitous move as his health declined rapidly over the next couple of months.
We said goodbye to my Dad (pictured above) three days before Christmas. He was the last of his generation on either side of our families. He hoped to one day celebrate his 100th birthday, but that was not meant to be. In January, with the help of an amazing realtor (who snapped the official “sold” photo of Dad’s house) we sadly closed the door of the home and life he loved. Our boys and their partners all made the trip out to California, joining us, along with my brother Kenny, as we said our final goodbyes.
Reg and I returned home in February, feeling somewhat lost as we came to terms with the fact that we were now the “older” generation. As we settled back into a routine we began to feel the pull of adventure once again. Perhaps another distance trek would get us back on track. But where?
Once again, timing proved to be everything. The decision of where to go was taken out our of our hands. For the time being, we will remain armchair travelers, experiencing adventure through our television programming. While not as exciting, it has allowed us some pretty amazing adventures…ones we’d never dream of attempting. For now, we’ll focus on remaining healthy and settling for walks around the neighborhood.
Standing in front of Cold Spring Tavern, it’s easy to imagine the dust flying as a team of horses pull a creaky stagecoach ‘round the bend.
Back in 1865 the California tavern was established as a stop for the stagecoach providing mail delivery and passenger service along the route between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. It was here, on what is now called Stagecoach Road, that tired horses were changed out and weary travelers enjoyed a meal and a break from what must have been a long and dusty, bumpy ride.
Although the stagecoach ceased operation back in 1901, Cold Spring Tavern remains a popular spot where locals and tourists from all walks of life are welcomed and offered a hearty meal, a cold drink and a glimpse into the Old West.
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.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery
Climate change activists were out in force in Trafalgar Square, blocking the streets, but otherwise demonstrating peacefully.
We topped off our stay with a visit to Kew Gardens. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 326 acres and features the largest and most diverse collection of plants in the world. We were smart to wear our hiking boots – from Kew Palace (top left) to the spectacular greenhouses, there’s a lot to see…regardless of the season.
The deck chairs scattered about St. James’s Park were just too irresistible on Sunday afternoon. We’d been on our feet for hours, wandering through London’s Chelsea district, through the Victoria and Albert Museum and making a quick pass by Buckingham Palace. We scanned the perimeter of the park for an empty bench…with no luck. The chairs looked far more comfortable but there was a catch.
No such luck. The eagle-eyed Park Bouncer spotted us immediately and made a beeline over to collect his deck chair cover charge.
Wandering beyond the city walls of Bath we discovered the beautiful Prior Park Landscape Garden. Originally designed in the 1700s, the garden spills down a hillside below the Prior Park Mansion (now a private school). Meandering paths lead through woodlands and around lakes.
On a clear day one can take in stunning views of Bath far below. Weather was not so kind to us.