Sunday, August 28, 2011

17-Mile Drive

I have mentioned in the past that after living in California for a long time, it was only last year that I went to take the 17-mile drive scenic ride.

According to wikipedia:

The 17 Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses and mansions. It also serves as the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach. Inside this community, non-residents have to pay a toll to use the road.[1] Like the community, the majority of 17-Mile Drive is owned and operated by the Pebble Beach Corporation. The 17-Mile Drive is 9.6 miles (15.4 km) long, between the entrances at California State Route 1 and Sunset Drive.

It was one rainy day when we took the drive. While the rain did not take away from the beauty of the coastline, I fear that the gloomy conditions that day did not do justice to the place. I shall try to go back and hope that blue skies will find me what ever day I choose.

In the meantime here are what I captured in that drive.

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the lone cypress

For those who does not want to pay the toll - it was $8 or $9 - and still get the same jawdropping sights - just cruise Highway 1 up and down the central coast for free :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back To School.

The schools have opened their doors this week. Because of this I fondly remember my school days. All through elementary and high school, the first week of the school year meant we had to write an essay entitled WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION. We had to write 2x, one in English for our English subject and the second in Tagalog for our Pilipino subject.

I hated writing that essay because we never travel, we never go anywhere during the summer months. What was I going to write about was the painful question that plagues me every first week of school. In the end I always found something to write about - a visiting kid from next door or some crazy penpal thingy we did one summer.

And so I thought I'd do a post about this essay assignment. However, this assignment will be all pictures, because I don't go to school anymore and I have a photo blog.

Here is one of the things I did this summer:

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I went rafting and it was so much fun!!!!! The pictures are scarier than they are in reality.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Point Bonita Lighthouse

I've been seeing Point Bonita Lighthouse from a distance for years and only last year was I able to see it up close.

Point Bonita today is part of the largest urban national park in the United States, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A secret jewel of the Bay Area, Point Bonita is still an active lighthouse. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the lighthouse and the National Park Service provides access to visitors.

Point Bonita Lighthouse is reached by a half mile trail that is steep in parts. Discover Point Bonita’s wild landscape, geology and fascinating history. The tunnel halfway to the lighthouse is open only during visiting hours: Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. [source]

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Part of the half mile trail - a very scenic one - the Golden Gate Bridge is to the left. At the end of this trail is a tunnel.

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Two person at at time to cross the bridge.

From the website: NOTE: Currently the tunnel to the suspension bridge/lighthouse is open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30–3:30 pm. However the lighthouse is not accessible due to the suspension bridge closure. Starting September 1, 2011 construction on the bridge is due to begin. During construction the trail and tunnel to Point Bonita will only be open Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 - 3:30 pm. Construction is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2012.

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Didn't get much shots on the lighthouse itself, was more into the views from the lighthouse.
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Like this view.
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Let's go back.
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I love this shot of the monk crossing the bridge.
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Along the trail on the way back I noticed this sign.
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And looked out to the water and saw the harbor seals peacefully resting.

I hope I'm showing you a little bit of San Francisco that you don't see often on the web.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

San Francisco At Random

From the very first time that I was driven around by my brother to see the city he called home, I fell in love with the beautiful houses. They are as much an attraction as the Golden Gate Bridge or the stunning bay views or driving up and down the hills or even savoring the full flavor of a dungeness crab.

From that very first time until today, as much as possible I never go to the city without a camera in my hand. No matter what I go to the city for, I find time to click on the beautiful houses.

Let me show you what my lens had captured over the years, some are drive bys and others are walk bys.

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Someone commented on flickr that this is an example of a mock Tudor. Glad for the info.

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An Italianate?

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At only 49 (+/-) sq mi, land is a premium in the city, so take advantage of every possible spot for gardening.

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If you see this image, you would not think of SF.

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And this one has that Parisian flavor to it. I see something new each time I aim the lens at something in the city.

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Modern and traditional sit side by side.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Saturday With the Redwoods

Earlier this year, I found myself free of errands to run on a Saturday. The house didn't need any cleaning at all either. So when our friends broached up the idea of going to visit their friends who were camping in the Santa Cruz mountains, I was ready for a day trip, even if I didn't know any of these people that were camping. After all, I have to experience being the "invited of the invited" for once in my life.

More importantly, I gave my nod because I have been dying to see BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK. I have heard so much of the park from local news and magazine shows that I really must go and see, even if the drive took 2 hours.

Here's what the website has to say about the park:.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest State Park, established in 1902. Home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

The park features family and group camping, tent cabins, backpacking camps, hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. The park is open year round and reservations are encouraged during the summer.

The park has over 80 miles of trails. Be sure and pick up a map at park headquarters before your hike and take a look at the multimedia kiosk in the Sempervirens Room (next to park headquarters). There you will find great information, photos, and video of some of the most popular trails.

Some trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline to the Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to the beach and adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.

The park has a surprising number of waterfalls and a wide variety of environments from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes. Many animals such as deer, raccoon, coyote, fox, an occasional bobcat, mountain lion, and many bird species--including California quail, egret, heron, hawk, owl, woodpecker, and the endangered marbled murrelet--call Big Basin home. And of course there are always plenty of banana slugs!

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We arrived at the park and while checking the information area where we were paying for parking, friends appeared. They have been hiking all morning long. They asked if we'd like to take a few of the paths with them. Near the parking lot there are a handful of paths that are short and easy. We needed short and easy since our friend has mobility issues.
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We found their theatre where shows are performed.
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The seating.
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We took 3-4 short trails and on one we found ourselves hiking so close to the road.

Soon, we met up with the friends and they invited us to their camp for a little late lunch.
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Who wouldn't want to camp here?
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The "new friends" were nice and we chatted away like we have known each other forever.
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Oh yeah, they brought their birds to camp. They never leave them home. They bring them wherever they go.

Aside from the lovely and peaceful mood hiking under the giants, I found these two really fascinating:
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Zoomed on the sign says this is a time capsule. How exciting.

And of course this one -
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So pretty and just by the road.

Was glad I said I'd go.

I would love to go back and camp one day.