A recent trip to Wilder Ranch State Park on the California coast was a truly spectacular day. Few cars in the parking lot and unpaved paths were the first sign it was a gem, for this meant fewer people.
A short distance from the sea, we could not yet see it, but we could smell the brine. After less than a mile we turned a corner and our world opened up with a bay and cliffs and the mighty Pacific Ocean. Sea birds, seals, and tumbling waves were surrounded by craggy cliffs and the infinite expanse of the sea. Thereafter, every corner was a new coastal cove and a sleepy pod of seals, or nesting shorebirds on the cliffs, or soaring pelicans.
Our return hike extended longer than anticipated because the map wasn’t quite accurate. The sandy trail ended at a farm, and our new view was a field and a farmer on his tractor. In the distance we saw trail bikers going somewhere, so we headed that way and found abandoned railroad tracks that turned into the trail that eventually led to the parking lot. It was all part of the adventure, and a fine one it was.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander