Yesterday we went for a short walk around the park and last night we went to see the Peking Acrobats. I’m going to make a special post about that soon, so stay tuned for it.
Meanwhile, today dawned nice and clear and there wasn’t all that much wind. We decided to go up Highway 1 about 60 miles to view the Elephant Seals. These seals have picked this 10 mile or so span of the California coast to live year around. The females get up to about 1,600 pounds while the males can exceed 5,000! (I’m guessing they drink a lot of beer!) Anyway, as you can see below, they are huge!
They just come out of the water and lounge about the beach.
There is a nice viewing area with good parking and a boardwalk where you can go along the top of the cliff and look down at them.
Mostly they just lay about on the beach and use their flippers to flip sand up on their back. This keeps the sun off of them.
They make lots of noise and often you see two or three of them getting in each other’s face. During mating season, the males will do it to secure females for breeding but the females apparently do it to guard their territory and offspring.
The males are not only large, but they have this huge “Jimmy Durante” Schnozolla while the females look more normal (see picture above this one to compare).
This gives you some idea how heavily the beach is populated with the seals!
Off shore there is this huge rock and when the waves hit it just right (about every 4-5 minutes today) there is quite a bit of spray thrown up. From another angle, we could see that the face of this rock that faces the ocean is vertical and flat.
After the seals we backtracked 3 miles to a state park to have lunch. Then we headed up Hwy 1 towards Big Sur. You can’t go all the way because the road is totally closed about 34 miles up from the seals. After about 12 miles, you get to where the road is full of tight turns and your speed is about 20 mph tops. It would not be fun to take our RV there, though I hear many have done so. After about 10 miles of twists and turns, we go to a spot where the road was under construction and limited to 1 lane. We turned back at that point and went back past Hearst Castle.
This is a picture from Hwy 1, about 2.5 miles away of the castle. It was actually built to be his house.
We also saw some kite surfers but they had just landed when we arrived.
After leaving the San Simeon area, we headed south to Cambria. As you enter the area from the north, there are some state beaches you can visit along the way. The one above has picnic tables on the grassy point overlooking the ocean.
Then we went to Main Street and decided to walk up and down both sides to check the town out. On the west side we came across many empty stores, but hardly any on the east side. Not sure why that is. The walk was short, maybe a mile altogether. We did see a few interesting signs….
The actual plaque reads “Nitt Witt Ridge, one of California's remarkable twentieth-century folk-art environments, is the creation of Arthur Harold Beal (Der Tinkerpaw, or Capt. Nitt Witt), a Cambria Pines pioneer who sculpted the land using hand tools and indigenous materials, remarkable inventiveness and self-taught skills. A blend of native materials and contemporary elements, impressive in its sheer mass and meticulous placement, it is a revealing memorial to Art's unique cosmic humor and zest for life.”
Came across this sign on a building in town. I would add that the same could be said for 1/26/2012.
We also managed to quickly spot some Zebras as we were driving down the road near Cambria. We didn’t get a chance to stop for pictures, so you will just have to take our word for it that they were there! Maybe next time!