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Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos
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Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos on 02/06/2011 15:41:51 MST Print View

Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos
While my home town of Chicago is recovering that wallop of a snow storm, coastal California is in the midst of a long sunny dry spell. To take advantage of the fine weather, we quickly pulled together a 3 day hike along the coast of Monterey Bay, from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos (in Pacific Grove). February 3-5, 2011.

This is our fourth Public-Transit backpacking trip in the past 18 months. It’s emotionally gratifying to go backpacking without using a car, and the San Francisco Bay Area has great options.
Link to more information about using public transit to access trailheads.

The core of the hike is a 38-mile stretch of beach, interrupted only by one harbor (Moss Landing) and one un-fordable river (which required about two miles of walking through artichioke fields and a 100 yard walk on highway 1 across the bridge). We spent two nights camping in the dunes. Although the highway is less than two miles away, the beach is functionally fairly isolated.

Weather was sunny and calm, classic “between storms” San Francisco Bay Area Winter weather. 40 at night and ~60 during the day. Seals, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, lots of birds, surf and surfers, fishermen, and a scattering of people walking their dogs. All in all a very easy and relaxing trip.


Link to full annotated SmugMug photo show


Link to Google Map (gmap-pedometer) allowing you to zoom in on details of the route, satellite images, etc. (If you double click in gmap it will extend the route, which will make you quite confused.)

Home to San Jose Diridon Station via CalTrain.
San Jose to Santa Cruz Transit Center via Santa Cruz express bus.
Walk to Monterey, with a round-trip extension to Point Pinos in Pacific Grove.
Express bus from Monterey Transit Center to San Jose CalTrain station.
CalTrain home.
The first 8 miles was a mix of beaches and quiet residential streets in Santa Cruz and Capitola. Then 38 miles of beach walking to downtown Monterey.
Then a 9 mile round trip extension to Point Pinos in Pacific Grove.
To make the trip a little shorter, one could take a city bus from Santa Cruz to Capitola or Aptos and eliminate the first 8 miles of town walking.

There are many ways to combine long walks in the Bay Area into a walk of over 300 miles. One could start by combining any of the adjacent walks we’ve taken in the past couple years. Information about each of these trips is included in our SmugMug gallery.

Amy L, Palo Alto
P.S. We are indeed in love with the Bay Area and we thank our lucky stars daily. We have our share of weather troubles, just not right now.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Thanks on 02/06/2011 15:55:55 MST Print View

Amy, I really enjoy your trip reports! Your links are very helpful and the fact that you use public transport, is inspiring. Nice pictures too. Thank you very much.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos on 02/06/2011 16:30:34 MST Print View

nice trip!

Alan Dixon
(alandixon) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Nice GREEN Trip on 02/06/2011 18:50:03 MST Print View

You and Jim are to be emulated.

It's reassuring to know that Green Trips can be done. I bet if you you think out of the box a bit one could do trips from public transportation in many parts of the country. So I hope this is inspiration to others to do the same.

What good birds did you see?

BTW love the photos! -a

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Birds on Monterey Bay Beach Walk on 02/06/2011 19:35:05 MST Print View

Alan asked what birds we saw on our Monterey Bay hike. I just finished our record-keeping: We saw 94 species of birds on that three day backpacking trip.

And thus we launch our modified BIGBY effort. We'll do a "Public Transit" Big Green Big Year instead of a human powered Big Year.

We're making an effort not to get obsessed, but it will be fun to see how many species of birds we can find this year using only human power and public transit. We didn't start until Feb 3, and between the 3 day hiking trip and an hour at Palo Alto Baylands (by bike) this afternoon, we are now up to 104 species for the PT-BIGBY list.

Amy & Jim
P.S. (wondering if Alan will take up the challenge?)

P.P.S. This trip was the first time we used the iPhone/Touch app Birdwatchers Diary to keep track of our daily bird checklists and it worked out just fine.

P.P.P.S And we are finding that Dropbox is proving to be very useful too.

Edited by drongobird on 02/06/2011 19:50:02 MST.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos" on 02/06/2011 20:53:54 MST Print View

Another awesome trip report....

I want to meet you both, you guys should come out to the Coe trip!