Grant's parents met up with us at the RV park in the morning and we headed off to Point Lobos Nature Reserve. When planning the trip, I had identified several parks on the coast that looked worth visiting, but this one seemed to really be exceptional, plus it's just a short drive south from Monterey, so we could stay at the same campground.
After a minor issue getting parked near the grandparents and a lengthy trip to the bathrooms (getting a crowd this size through the bathrooms is surprisingly challenging), we finally got to start a hike. Oh, and we got a quick lesson on poison oak - after a park ranger happened to stroll by and saw Ellia playing with a couple of sticks. Apparently poison oak loses its leaves and is just this scraggly stick-looking bush, lining the trails everywhere. So of course, that's exactly what Ellia was playing with. Grant hustled her off for a thorough hand washing and fortunately all was well.
Our first trail led to the sea lion lookout.
Binoculars were very helpful in spotting wildlife.
Gulls were easy to see. :)
See all the lumps covering those rocks? Those are sea lions. They were just lying around all together, probably a couple hundred of them, the park ranger told us. Really cool. It was much easier to watch them through the telescope they had on the trail.
In some little coves, the water looked emerald green. Beautiful!
Those are some happy grandparents! Yep, and happy kids, too.
We drove to a different part of the park for a picnic lunch and more trails.
The kids talked us into going down this steep staircase to a little beach area. The call of the water was irresistible.
Despite the knowledge that they would have to put their socks and shoes back onto sandy, wet feet to finish our hike, they wasted no time in rushing for the water.
On our way back to the car, we spotted some harbor seals resting on rocks near the shore. We watched them for quite awhile. Cool!
Grandpa and Grandma did a fantastic job keeping up with us - we're so glad they're willing and able to join us on fun adventures like this!
One of the highlights of the day for the kids was looking for little sea creatures in the rocks next to this boat launch. They found a couple of varieties of crabs and were begging to bring some home with us. Not a chance.
One of the most awesome trees ever. A Monterey Cypress next to the Whaler's Cove, where you can see whale bones from years past. This area is rich in history and had a little museum explaining the lives of the people who survived here in the whaling industry.
A rare moment of sweetness between these two required documentation.
A not-so-rare moment of sassiness/silliness from Annika. :)
The Whaler's Museum.
After such a long and beautiful day, we were ready to head back to the trailer. We had another one of my slow cooker soups awaiting us, which really hit the spot on a chilly evening. We said our good-byes to grandparents and prepared for the next day's journey.
Day 14: (October 28)
Happy Birthday to Marissa! Our girl turned 10 today - and we were on the road to visit Grant's Uncle Randall and his family in Malibu.
Randall is 21 years younger than Grant's dad - and he has two children. Twins Alexandria and Julian are nearly 15, so they're much closer in age to our kids than they are to their first cousin, Grant.
Our RV park was just across from the Pacific. You can't see the highway down below, separating us from the ocean, so we weren't on the beach, but it was close enough.
When the traffic slowed down at night, we heard the waves crashing throughout the evening.
Alex spent several hours playing with us - such a great girl and my kids were delighted to get to know her.
Their dog Luna was nervous about us at first - but she quickly warmed up to Corban. Ha!
She drove us down to the beach area for their community - well, Ellia, Miranda, and I got a full ride; the rest of the family had to walk part of the way until she dropped us off at the beach and went back to get them.
The sun set too quickly for us - but we got a little snippet of play. The kids and Alex were looking for crabs among the rocks.
Meanwhile, Randall was cooking up a feast for us. Lobster (which he had caught and frozen a couple of weeks prior), steak, homemade meatballs and pasta, roasted brussel sprouts, and butternut squash. Wow!
It was an amazing dinner spent with lovely people. We were so grateful for a special visit with Randall and his family.