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Doing as the Tourists Do: Taking a Drive Down the PCH

The Pacific Coast Highway (or PCH, as they are fond of calling it in Southern California), runs down the western length of the state.  It is famously scenic, and a must-see for first time visitors.

These pictures were actually taken mid-day (a deadly time for photographs, sadly) as we drove home from Ano Nuevo, where we saw the elephant seals.  Still, I think, the scenery is sufficiently spectacular that it shines through the subpar lighting.

Here are a few angles on the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, as viewed during the day:

There were a number of people parked at this particular pullout appreciating the view.

Funny aside:  for whatever reason, strange men approach me almost every time I’m out taking pictures to tell me about their camera equipment.  No hellos or anything.  They just launch into a laundry list of the things they own at home, things they used to own, things they want to own in the future.   I don’t know what that’s about.  Am I supposed to respond with a list of my own camera equipment?  It’s a mystery.


We next stopped to check out Tunitas Creek Beach.  The picture above was taken part way down the “path” connecting the highway to the sand.


Scenic, amirite?

Funny story:  The parks website mentions that the “Tunitas Creek Beach currently has no facilities and is only accessible via a steep, eroded trail.”  This is no joke.  Getting down to this beach was not easy, especially with my camera and tripod slung over my shoulder, but it had nothing on getting back up again.  Someone had tied a rope at the top which I didn’t notice coming down.  It turns out this rope is a necessary element to the return trip, in that you have to haul yourself up the steep grade using it.  This is a tricky enough process in and of itself, but as I said, I had hand carried both camera and tripod down the beach, which meant that there was only one way it was getting back again.  The other thing I’d brought down to the beach was an uncoordinated six year old.  This was one of those “not funny then, funny now,” parenting moments.  But hey, we all made it in the end.  Moral of the story: when climbing down a cliff to a beach, put your camera in a backpack, in case you need both hands free to haul yourself and your offspring back out again.  Also, bring your spouse.  Spouses are good at schlepping. Or so I hear.

And finally, the place I was most hoping to hit when the light was right.  Fortunately, the stars aligned.  These pictures were taken in one of the fields of wildflowers lining the highway:



How pretty is that?  Sadly, I forgot to turn my face recognition back on, so a bunch of the pictures were rendered blurry and unusable.  The Fuji is not the easiest camera to use to capture a twitchy child anyway; I find the Nikon much easier for that purpose.  Or maybe I’m not yet smart enough for the Fuji.  I can see it going either way.  However, I ended up pretty pleased with the pictures I did get.

And there it is!  Take a trip down the PCH and make a day of it.  There’s no end of beautiful things to photograph along the way.



  1. Lovely photos! We had a similar experience climbing back up out of the beach at Shark Fin Cove, a little south of Ano Nuevo. Perhaps not as steep as no ropes were required, but at one point my cousin had to boost me up by my butt and then I reached back to give her a hand up, trying not to smack her in the head with the camera dangling around my neck. And then a little kid passed us by like it was nothing, lol.

    • This is good info – I’m actually hoping to make it to Shark Fin Cove this weekend.
      I already had big plans to leave the offspring with his grandparents. Now I will try extra hard to make it so.

  2. Pingback: Visiting Shark Fin Cove in Santa Cruz - Whistling Far and Wee

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