Monday, September 5, 2016

Hiking Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

On Labor Day, we decided to explore the beautiful Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and then travel to Carmel-on-the-Sea for beach activities and lunch.

Surprisingly, the drive to Point Lobos was very fast. It only about 80 minutes (instead of the usual 2 hours) to reach Point Lobos.

However, when we arrived, the main parking lot at Point Lobos State Reserve was full (probably due to all of the Labor Day visitors), so we parked on the shoulder of Highway 1. (Note, there are parts of Highway 1 that have "No Parking" signs - and a ranger was giving out many tickets.)

We followed the "Lace Lichen Trail" to the Cypress Grove Trail, where we wanted to see the famous Allan Memorial Grove.

There we many beautiful trees and scenic overlooks. Some of the trees have rusted out look - this is a special rust-colored algae that grows here.

We saw a couple of whales in the distance spouting, but they were too far away for a photo.

The many exotic trees are so beautiful here.There are lots of birds too and we observed lots of pelicans flying around.

After really enjoying our time here, we headed for Carmel-by-the-Sea for lunch and beach time. We found a well-rated restaurant near our parking spot - Treehouse Cafe.

For appetizer, we ordered a plate of Hummus and Pita bread. The Hummus was quite good - almost as good as Oren's Hummus Shop in Mountain View (our favorite local spot).

For an entree, I ordered a Greek Gyro. It was not bad

Inna ordered highly recommended "Salmon Ravioli", which she really liked.

We also shared a bowl of the famous "Coconut Shrump Soup", which was off the menu (but was often mentioned in Yelp's restaurant reviews). The soup was delicious!

For dessert, we splurged on a "Mango Cheesecake", which turned out to be quite delicious.

After lunch, we strolled through Carmel-by-the-Sea, heading to the beach. The weather was sunny and very pleasant. We were looking forward to walking on white sand beach in Carmel.

There were lots of people and many dogs on the beach - much more than is typical for Carmel, but this was the Labor Day weekend.

When we got close to the water, we spotted a pod of dolphins! They were close to shore and were diving in and out.

We were very lucky to have seen dolphins and whales on the same day in Carmel. We ended up walking the entire beach from one end to the other, past the famous "Pebble Beach" Golf Course.

We had a fantastic day at Point Lobos and Carmel and hope to be back.