Still Foggy

Such a foggy year!

A Walk on the Pacific Coast Highway

Well, more like a walk on the Cabrillo Highway. California One runs along the coast and is famously known as the PCH, but many stretches have different names. Along the Central Coast, it's named after Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.

And up past the county line, the road has been closed these several months, first because of a bridge failure. Then, while a replacement has been under construction, an extraordinarily large landslide ensured that the highway would be closed for some time.

So I figured why not take a little walk on it? Wouldn't it be neat to walk down the middle line of a highway I've driven on so many times?

Here's a picture of the highway:

Why is it so far away, you ask? Well, the road is blocked just past the curve where Salmon Creek is. And yesterday, the roadblock had an attendant. I didn't want to ask if it was ok to walk on the road.

Yes, I was chicken.

Instead, I walked up the Buckeye Trail. The trailhead is at the parking lot where the old house sits, between the creek and the road block.

I'm glad I went this way. I had no idea the trail was here and it's a great trail! It starts off steep, but within a mile, I was walking along the tops of hills overlooking the highway and the Pacific.

Isn't the Pacific gorgeous? Ugh, the fog has been crazy this year. This is only my fourth summer, but it's certainly been more foggy and foggy later than I've ever experienced.

But at least it's not hot.

At times, the fog made it seem like I was walking along an island mountain, ready to fall off at any time.

And there were a few scary spots that I didn't take pictures for. I liked the feel of being in a fantasy world, where unknown creatures might appear at any moment. Certainly, it was deserted, since only one end of the trail is accessible these days.

I took a left when the trail intersected with another one. I look forward to taking the Buckeye further north to see what I can see.

The Soda Springs trail took me to actual trees! Deciduous and everything!

The trail winds down between two creeks (still flowing even in August) and different kinds of trees. I can't remember the last time I saw leaves on a path like this. The trail terminates at a parking spot along CA-1. It was empty, of course. It was 600 feet back up the hill, so I decided to walk back along the highway.

I walked about a mile back to my car. I'm glad I did it. It was a lot of fun to see the road without cars and look over the cliffs in places where I'd never have been able to pull over. And I got a closer look at things I'd seen before -- this has been here since way back before the slides, when there used to be a single lane control signal.

But it was also scary. I don't know if walking on the road there is legal. There was a helicopter buzzing the coast, and I could imagine I was being pursued by the fuzz. But more scary were the trucks. Most of the time you could hear them coming, because nothing else was going on on that road. And so while there were stretches of quiet and weirdness walking along the highway, other times there were airbrakes and the need to get out of the way. These tractor-trailers were carrying big boulders up to the landslide site for the new road construction. When I say large, I mean like only fitting three in the trailer.

There were also a few locals driving around, so my image of an isolated abandoned highway weren't quite realistic. Still, it was another good walk, and when I got back to the road block, the roadblock attendant was talking to a local in a pickup truck. I walked along the other side of the truck and wasn't stopped. I'm sure they noticed me; I just wasn't worth the bother.

The end of the Poppies