THE END OF SUMMER – NORTH CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

By Monday, November 14, 2016 0 , Permalink 0

Organic Farm in Little River California Hello, still alive here! I thought it was time for a round-up of photos from a few of the stops along our drive down and up Highway 1 (and further afield) in September. Jet lagged and shell shocked from all the wild beauty we surrounded ourselves with, it took me the first two weeks of October to start sleeping normally again – plus a whole month to get it together to edit my photos from our north California road trip! Santa Cruz coastline We landed in SF and barely caught our breath before jumping in our Jeep and heading down to Santa Cruz, staying at a string of awesome Airbnb’s along our chosen route. Santa Cruz coastline You rarely get a beach to yourself in the UK, so we took full advantage here and revelled on deserted sands and lonesome rocks. Sharing one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen with pasers by who had to pull over to take in its wonder. Of course, I had no camera. But it was nice to share that moment fully with my eyes and mind and a lovely lady on her way to yoga!Wild coastline Big SurHeading North on Big SurDown and up Big Sur in a day, with a thousand stops along the way. Tufts of wild flowers, sea otters, pampas grass springing up out of the cliffs and hills. Waterfalls, sunbeams and epic views.California-road-trip-big-sur-cliffsWild flowers in Big Sur Pampas grasses on Highway 1 Big Sur Highway 1 coastal viewsSea sparkles for days! My soul was topped up with all the sunbeams it could carry. I hope they can last me until March ;)HIghway 1 Coastline tripOn the road California 2016Trucks piled high with logs, scrap and more. This motley crew were in front of us for a while as we headed back north and across to Yosemite.The road to Yosemite A glimpse of what was to be the most awe-inspiring place I have ever been. We drove up all the way to Yosemite’s Glacier Point and looked down with caution at the valley below. Yosemite valley 2016Just imagine the first settlers who arrived here in a horse and cart to see this in front of them. I can barely explain how it made me feel. It was almost too much wonder for my mind to take in. Still reeling from it now.Frozen Glade in Yosemite National Park Stopping to take in the magic of a frosted meadow after a chilly rock hard night in a tent – waiting for a bear to get me (or at least make an attempt on my granola hidden in the bear locker)!View of Half Dome from Glacier Point Yosemite National ParkHalf Dome at 6am when there was barely anyone else around. It was unbelievable. As if the peaks and valley were all ours for half an hour or more. Chipmunks and squirrels rustling about in the undergrowth.Yosemite wildlife Yosemite valley views Then off again north for a bite to eat and stroll through a couple of streets in Oakland – then on to Fairfax.Heading for Oakland Giant California cactus A huge prickly pear cactus climbing up out of the pavement. Each time we saw one of these it warranted squeals of delight from us both (this happened a lot over the 1200 miles we covered). North-california-road-trip-fairfax-3As we drove highway 1, we took detours up Mount Tam to view the city from afar and down to Point Reyes – where I saw this beautiful coyote out on the cliff edge below.Point Reyes Coyote Beach life - Driving North on highway 1All along our way, people were making the most of the unusually good weather and the freedom of the weekend. Hazy beaches carved our path up the coast and this lone bird of prey stayed with us for a few miles. I like to think he was our end of summer animal spirit guide.Animal spirit guideFlowering fennelArriving in Little River, all the blue, turquoise, grey and buff of the coast were replaced with tall green trees and golden evening light cast across the organic farm we stayed on.Organic Farm in Little River CaliforniaA tapestry of wild colour, birds, insects and the distant sounds of wild animals. A sunlit shanty made of wood and an outdoor shower. We picnicked outside until the sun went down and then read books until we fell asleep. Rising early to hit the road again and drive a little further north to Mendocino town.Sea gull Inn Mendocino This is the prettiest seaside town we stopped in. Great food, coffee and independent stores. We ate breakfast in a lovely cafe then had a wander around, taking in all the houses, gardens and the sea views.Mendocino Palmist - palm reader North-california-road-trip-mendocino-16Picture perfect houses and whole bays to ourselves, after a rather long and hot trail walk through the scrub we ate a packed lunch sitting on Shell Beach. We wet our feet in the chilly sea and left no trace of our being there except some foot prints in the sand.Visit shell beach - Sea RanchPassing by the amazing Sea Ranch Chapel – a non-denominational sanctuary for prayer, meditation, and spiritual renewal. Just look at this place!Sea Ranch chapelWildwood mountain retreat GuernevilleOnwards and upwards, climbing a steep mountain single track road up to Wildwood retreat in Guerneville. As it was a Monday night all the weekenders had returned to the city and we had this place all to ourselves.Wildwood mountain retreat Guerneville A complete contrast to Yosemite, this place was insanely hot, our tent had views out of every side and we had the vents open all night. We watched deer wandering past and an amazing sunset over the mountain below. Falling asleep to the sound of a thousand crickets in the sun-baked grass.California road trip Mountain campingWildwood mountain retreat GuernevilleWildwood mountain retreat GuernevilleCalifornia road trip highway 1On another high, we made our way down from the mountains, for one last drive along the coast road. Past birds swooping over glittering water and eventually into the famous SF fog rolling into the city across the Golden Gate Bridge. Foggy Golden Gate Bridge 2016It hovered just above the city for the last two days of our visit, obscuring skyscrapers and bringing the temperature down a few degrees. Car free for a couple of days we walked the Mission and The Castro, ate some of the best Mexican food I have ever tasted (at Gracias Madre) and indulged in way too much baked joy – from Tartine Bakery.San Francisco vintage carWe found pretty make shift gardens spilling out into the community.San Francisco Green spacesThe whole trip was amazing with a capital A. I cannot believe we were there for a whole ten days. It felt like forever and now feels like a dream. Typing now with a grey sky and low light makes it all seem even more unreal. This house below was my favourite the first time we visited in 2011 and I was so excited to find this house again this time – I wonder who lives inside, maybe if we ever go back I will find out? I have so much more to show you and places to share. So hopefully will have more images from specific spots soon. Have a great week! xxxSan Francisco painted houses

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