It started out like so many of our early Saturday mornings do … we had breakfast and tossed around ideas about what to do that day. Northern California offers a bounty of dog friendly options, and we debated a trip to the beach or a drive in the mountains to visit a few wineries. But we decided on a hike – something with great views of the ocean and wasn’t too long for Ty and Buster, given it was going to be a warm, sunny day. A little poking around online uncovered Grey Whale Cove Trail. It sounded perfect, and since we knew the whales were migrating, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of a few along the way. Little did we know what thrilling encounter the day would hold!
Many of California’s state parks prohibit dogs on the trails, so it’s takes a bit of investigation to find hiking spots where dogs are welcome. Several times we followed advice from other people about places they took their dogs, only to discover that they’d been breaking the rules and going places they shouldn’t. Even though we don’t always agree with the decision to ban dogs from an area, we respect the rules and only take Buster and Ty where they’re allowed. So finding Montara State Beach, just south of San Francisco, was a big score. The boys were allowed on the trails, and the views were killer!
The trail starts out with a bit of a climb and then levels off as it winds around the hill. Below the trail is the famous California Hwy 1, and just beyond that are the crashing waves of the cold Pacific.
Ty and Buster found a bench and settled in to admire the scenery, watch the pelicans dive, and keep an eye out for grey whales.
Catching a shot of a whale takes a truckload of luck and far more patience than I possess, but I did manage to snap a few shots of passing whales as they spouted and then dove back into the deep.
Watching whales wasn’t nearly as interesting to Ty and Buster as it was to me, and before long they were getting antsy. We decided to take the steep trail to a lone tree at the top of the hill for a better view, but there were other options that would have made for a less strenuous hike.
About half way through our climb we noticed something on our tail …
Two scarlet macaws were circling us!
These birds were HUGE, and came in for a close enough look that they made me a little nervous. But watching them perform their choreographed dance in flight took my breath away, and I doubt I’ll ever experience anything like it again. Macaws are native to Central America, so these two either escaped or were set free and their now living their lives on the California coast. They seemed to be familiar with humans, and I got the feeling they flew so close either because they were looking for food or they were checking to see if they recognized us. Either way, they turned our hike into a breathtaking day!
Still buzzing after the macaws flew away, we finished our climb and perched on top of the hill to reflect on the many amazing things that have happened to us since we started traveling. This experience could have so easily slipped through our fingers if we’d made just one different decision along the way … left instead of right, here instead of there … it’s a fantastic reminder that the Universe is a wondrous thing.
And, once again, I’m so grateful for these two characters. Without them, there’s no chance we would have been on that hill.
Traveling with dogs makes our lives richer. What wondrous things have you experienced because you travel with your pets?
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