Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

My Lucky Day at Point Lobos

Yesterday I drove toward the Monterey Bay area planning to visit Point Lobos for a half day of morning photography. As I passed through Castroville I heard a report on the radio: Highway 1 was closed south of Carmel for the Big Sur Marathon. Yikes! Point Lobos is about five minutes south of the road closure.

For a moment I debated whether to turn around and head back or try to pick a different destination, but the report went on to say that they were convoying vehicles past the runners, though there would be a delay – so I figured I stick with my plan and see what would happen. When I arrived at the start of the race – the shopping center south of Carmel – the road was completely blocked, there were hundreds of runners, and traffic was shunted to the left into the almost completely full shopping center parking lot. I saw a sign for “convoy parking” so I drove over an inquired. There was a two hour interval between convoys, but one was scheduled to leave in a half hour or so… so I picked up a coffee nearby and before taking my place in the line.

When I finally arrived at Point Lobos I was initially taken aback by a huge stream of runners/walkers who were apparently taking a route through the park, but it turned out that they had apparently just started near the south end of the reserve and come through more or less in one group. They soon passed, and it turned out that I was one of only two cars that had gotten into the park during/before the passing of the first convoy. On a spring morning I was almost alone at Point Lobos!

For the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon I met no other hikers, photographers, or other park visitors whatsoever. I saw one other person on a distant rock at one point, but that was it. Anyone who has visited Point Lobos knows that on a typical Sunday in spring the place if full of cars and there are people everywhere. I took advantage of this unusual situation to photograph a family of harbor seals who were very close to the shoreline and later to hike a trail through the pine forested hills that I’ve meant to visit for years.

I think I need to find out when this marathon is scheduled for next spring and plan to do this again!

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April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Commentary, Places, Trips

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