For years we’ve driven past an enticing cove protected by steep cliffs. The beach far below looked like it would be a stunner, but we put it off because visitors have to walk across popular scenic Route 1 at a curve in the road with no pedestrian crossing or stop sign to get to the beach trail.
Our severely autistic son has a habit of stopping midway as we cross streets. Determined to finally answer the siren call of the beautiful cove, we parked, took a deep breath, held his hands tightly, and crossed safely to the beach side of the road.
Before taking the trail and steep stairs down to the beach, we explored the shady clifftop area. The sculptural silhouette of trees framed cliffs and ocean views in multiple directions.
“This looks like a Chinese ink painting,” someone said.
Looking past angled tree branches to dramatic cliffs with waves crashing below made me feel like I’d been transported to an entirely different place. I could have been halfway around the world, not just a few miles south of our home in San Francisco.
Just stepping on an unfamiliar trail near home can make us feel we’ve been transported to a different time and place. Our first visit to this scenic spot made it an instant favorite.
Go ahead and stop at the places you’ve wondered about but never had the chance to explore. You might be surprised at what you’ve been missing!
This week’s Hike Notes, Gray Whale Cove State Beach, leads readers down a long stairway to a stunning beach just south of Pacifica’s Devils Slide Tom Lantos Tunnels.
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Hike Notes 175: Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.