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Reaching the Pacific
|Wednesday, 30 April 2003|
|written by Teresa|
Going into the city is always a strange experience after being out in more remote, less populated areas. When we stay in a hotel for a week because of Sterling's work this effect is exacerbated. For the first few days we wander around the room, gaze at the bathroom which is larger than our entire shoebox, use the GPS to locate each other in the king size bed and take long gratuitous showers with no concerns for a six gallon hot water tank. We inevitably eat and drink too much and after a short while this all pales and we look longingly out of the window at our little house waiting patiently in the car park and dream of starry skies and noise no louder than the background hum of nature.
Leaving Denver, we weaned ourselves off the frenzy by stopping in Glenwood Springs to see friends and of course soak in the much missed hot pool. As we came across the Rockies, the passes were clear in spite of vague attempts at snow but the following day the weather became more earnest, the roads closed and the lorries stacked up along the interstate waiting for matters to improve.
The road across Utah remained open and our intention to spend a night in a state park looked on course until we arrived to find it full. Unclear about our intentions we got back on the interstate and were just in the process of discussing the need for a guide on BLM land when we spotted two RV's parked off in the distance. Quick reaction times by the driver had us off I-15 and bouncing up a poorly tarmaced road in no time at all. By the time we stopped, the main road was far enough away to be a distant hum, the views startling, the chairs off the back of the camper in short order and a glass of wine in hand as we reclined and relaxed. The only disturbance later that night was the calling of a lone cow as she searched for her friends grazing across the scrub land.
Continuing west the next morning, we drove into California and almost immediate heavy traffic and slow and slower speeds. Having inched our way forward for forty five minutes we found a set of traffic lights loaded in favour of the rare car travelling across the stream created by the entire population of Los Angeles returning from a weekend of debauchery in Las Vegas.
Undeterred we finally arrived at Montaña de Oro State Park just as the sun was setting over the Pacific. We reversed into a campsite, unknowingly watched by a bobcat camouflaged on a tree stump about a hundred feet away. When we noticed her, a period of intense staring began on each side, broken by the cat deciding it was dinner time. A colony of ground squirrel appeared to be on the menu and after a short caricature of feline stalking, the unfortunate hors d'oeuvre had been secured. The cat kept a disdainful eye on the small group of onlookers, finally lifting her bloodied nose before walking off, presumably in search of something more substantial for the entrée.
Montaña de Oro is a place of dreams. The rugged coast line attempts to stand in defiance of the relentless sea that crashes in, throwing magnificent plumes of water high into the air to be whisked away by the insistent wind. Eroded platforms of protruding tilted rock strata link the cliffs with the water, holding busy tidal pools during low water while also creating a first line of defence against it's advance. Small coves nestle in against the cliffs at regular intervals and the plaintive call of gulls and oystercatchers echo against the vertical walls. The never ending cycle of movement, the persistent sound of crashing water, jostling pebbles and the whoosh of the ebb somehow give time a new dimension where moments seem to last forever and entire afternoons disappear. On closer inspection the seemingly uniform sand proves to be a kaleidoscope of highly polished pieces of numerous colours inviting close attention with eye and hand. Lying on the warmth of the sun-soaked beach, basking in the sheer pleasure of the place, fingers playing in the sand, ears delighted by the natural music is to be suffused by a deep calmness and relaxation.
Well rounded hills lie parallel to the coast like the curves of voluptuous women resting on their sides gazing off over the water. Their gentle green skin is decorated in places with the yellows, purples and pinks of profuse spring flowers. The coast path follows the top of the cliffs affording views in both directions, the amazing azures of both sky and water, edged with white surf and foam in contrast with the more diffuse tones of the sleeping women.
Sea otters play in the waves, diving for their on-going snacks, tails curving as they somersault through the surface, lying on their backs prying open their goodies with dexterous little hands while far off towards the horizon, water plumes of migrating whales rise into the air.
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