Point Lobos to Bixby Bridge. 11.5 miles

August 1: Monterey County
Point Lobos to Bixby Bridge. 11.5 miles.

Today was self-guided – it was mostly road walking with just a few off-road excursions that were scouted out by Steve Jones. At first we walked by the lands of the Monterey affluent. Gated and walled homes and communities line both sides of Highway One as we walked along the intermittently narrow road shoulder. Traffic was heavy, but sometimes heartening. Many of the drivers honked and waved; the newspaper article and TV coverage in Monterey, as in Santa Cruz, had its effect. How do they know who we are? What other group of 9 would don orange safety vests and brave the RVs on twisty Highway One? It is unfortunate that the lack of a good pathway here makes this beautiful country sometimes “hurry up and get it over with” country. Where the road enters Garrapata State Park, we left the houses behind, but the lack of a bluff top trail means we stay on the highway. At Soberanes Point, where we were able to make a highway free loop — adding distance, but also serenity, to our walk. From the point itself we were able to watch two small whales as they slowly move south. Back on the road, we continued on to Doud Creek and a trail down to our lunch spot on Garrapata Beach. As we were descending to the beach, Keith Douglass Warner, a Franciscan Brother, greeted us. He is an environmental studies, doctoral student at UC Santa Cruz. His congregation had asked him to take up his current work at the university. He is appreciative of our efforts and offers to pray “for the land and for your work” at a meditation retreat he will be attending later in the day. Back on the road after lunch, we walked on to our destination at Bixby Bridge. Our walking day was over but soon a new and different day began. We’d been walking through this coast side, and now it was time to learn about and meet the people who live and work here.

Our guide was Jeff Norman, a biological consultant, who met us in Librarian Linda Almen’s Big Sur Branch of the Monterey County Library. Jeff talked to us about Ernst Ewoldsen, member of the pioneer Pfeiffer family. Ernst was a Coastwalk coordinator in Monterey until his life tragically ended in an automobile accident in 1992. Coastwalk, in his name, and through the good offices of Steve Jones has donated yearly to the library so that books related to the Big Sur area can be purchased. Jeff is quite a raconteur and in telling the Ewoldsen story, many people and places, fires, floods and histories of and about Big Sur are woven into the narrative. This entertaining and colorful history lesson continued at dinner and around the campfire. Steve Jones provided dinner, importing Yoshi Morodomi, Japanese owner of Salinas “La Fogata” Mexican restaurant. Yoshi brought excellent rice and beans, chili verde, homemade tortillas and salad. Henrietta Stern and Tom Biggs, both friends of ranger John McGee who was unable to be with us due to a bad back, joined us at dinner. Henrietta and Tom will be our guides on Sunday. Matt Duonaguidi, ranger in the Monterey area, and Gary Nelson ranger and trails “guru” were there, too. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by J Nichols)

Left: Garrapata State Beach. Right: Bixby Bridge

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