Pacific Coast Highway : Part 1 - The Dainty Squid

Pacific Coast Highway : Part 1

Monday, July 06, 2015


After Morro Bay we continued up the Pacific Coast Highway. The further we got, the more I fell in love. Is it okay to admit that I wasn't impressed with the coast until this point? Because I wasn't. Maybe we just weren't hitting the right spots, or maybe it just differed so much from my expectations that I wasn't into it. This stop though, at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, won my heart. The temperature was cool, it was foggy out, and the water was the most beautiful color. I could have stayed here for days.


A short drive up the road from there is Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. We saw signs for it, and it was on Roadside America but I was not prepared. I assumed there was a chance we might see some elephant seals there. I didn't realize the beach would just be covered in them. I have never seen in elephant seal in person so needless to say I was captivated. These puppies are maaaaassive. Males can grow 14-16 feet in length and be 3000-5000 pounds. They're also very loud, and very smelly. Totally worth the stank to see these beasts cuddled up on the beach together. I loved watching them. I ooooh-ed and awww-ed as they played and just about lost my mind over how cute they were when they used their silly little flippers to flip sand on themselves. (You can spot one doing that in the second photo down. Right in front of the flowers.)


The elephant seals were really awesome but the squirrels at this stop stole my heart. I noticed them as soon as we got out of the car. I was excited to get a nice close shot of one of them with my 100mm lens. Then all of a sudden one of these little cuties runs right up to me. There were signs not to feed the wildlife but I figured picking something off the ground that someone else had already tried giving them as a way to lure them in was a nice little loophole I could use and not feel guilty.

As I'm squatting there, trying to photograph and love on squirrels, an older couple comes up to me inquiring where the elephant seals were. In the middle of their sentence a squirrel just jumps into my lap. I immediately started looking at the squirrel, looking at them, looking at the squirrel, looking at them - trying to get these people to notice. They either noticed and didn't think it was interesting or they somehow did not see this incredible thing happen. As soon as they walked away I managed to get Jeff's attention and he snapped a really cute shot of this squirrel sitting on my lap. I got one too, you can see it here! As soon as the squirrel hopped down I burst into tears. Yes, literally. I'm an emotional person, whatever. It made my day. Shoot, it made my month. I'm still over the moon. My sister-in-law was asking me about the trip and what my favorite part was. Without even thinking I blurted out "SQUIRRELS!" Haha. California, I love your squirrels. Even if I didn't fall stupid in love with the state I would come back just for the squirrels.


We made a stop just down the road from the elephant seal rookery to shoot the fog on the road. I feel like the above photo of our rental car might be a little out of place in the post of cute animals, and the ocean but you gotta admit, it's a pretty sweet shot. I'm not sure why but I was so fond of that little car.
xoxo

You can find more posts from our road trip under the "travel" tag.

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37 thoughts

  1. Haha! What funny, giant cuddle-bugs! I've only seen elephant seals once in my life, and I also remembered being overwhelmed by the squishy-ness and size and smell ;) Haha...

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  2. This post brings me wonderful memories of my 2 weeks road trip thru highway 1 :) California is so special, if I had to move to USA then had to be California. Oh RedWoods I love you soooo much! Have you been in any RedWood or Sequoias National Park?

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    1. No, we didn't get to go to Sequoia NP. Someday though!

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  3. Oh my goodness you're making me nostalgic for home! (I grew up in Northern California). Elephant seals are a riot, especially when they scratch their bellies like grumpy old men. If you have the chance or are planning to visit Yosemite at any point, you'll love the squirrels there too. They've learned how to beg XD

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    1. We hit Yosemite a day or two after this. I actually don't think we saw any squirrels there though! :(

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  4. Those seals look so relaxed! And those squirrels are too cute!

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    1. I know, don't they!? I bet it's super cozy to just be cuddled up in that mess. (Not as a human, as a seal :P)

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  5. Beautiful photos!! I'm absolutely loving the pictures from your road trip.

    Also, with your enduring love of fog, you might appreciate these photos from a hike I took yesterday. It was crazy foggy almost the entire way! (http://caminocountdown.blogspot.com/2015/07/return-to-goodspeed-trail.html)

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  6. Oooh! These pictures are wonderful. Your shots peering over edges always make me dizzy, haha!

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    1. Haha! Are you afraid of heights?

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    2. Yes, terrified!! I used to have a reoccurring dream of me falling off a cliff. I don't mind being high up but I can't step close to edges!

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  7. I love your animal pictures! Far too cute!

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  8. I just love you and your soft heart for animals! I could hear myself saying the very same thing about the squirrels. You know, there are just those kind of people that wouldn't ever be able to feel the joy that you did with the friendly little squirrel jumping in your lap. Such a shame huh? The elephant seals are so cute huddled together…I am thinking to keep warm? I am following your trip with great envy. Did you take any pictures of "Tide Pools"? If so PLEASE share. That is the reason I want to go there to witness it for myself.

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    1. Hehe, thank you so much! I can't imagine not just being tickled pink by a squirrel in my lap. I'm so disappointed the people talking to me didn't seem to care. IT WAS SO COOL.

      Yes! I did. I have one more post of the coast, and then it's tide pools!

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    2. If it were me, I'd be like "omg that is the cutest thing I've ever seen!" And then I'd probably burst into tears before you. Lol

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  9. The final shot of the car looks like it could be taken out of a car commercial! Love the pics from your road trip - it looks like so much fun.

    Claire // Technicolour Dreamer

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    1. Hah! I kind of thought so too!

      Glad you're enjoying the pictures. I have sooo many more left. :D

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  10. Hey, I know this has nothing to do with your post whatsoever, but I thought you might want to check out this video if you haven't. It's just from this youtube channel of this guy who does the 5 top of spooky things and myths, and he has this one episode about big foot that reminds me of the Maiden Voyage shop that you've posted about before. Just thought it was fun and wanted to share it with you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiI7OE0ho8I

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    1. Interesting! Bookmarked it for later! :)

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  11. Hahaha oh my goodness - you are too funny with your squirrel love! Like the pup from Pixar's Up. :D Squirrels are actually on my want to shoot list - not the gray squirrels that live in my yard but their larger, fox squirrel cousins. I saw one up close for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kicking myself for being too slow with my camera.

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    1. Haha. C'mon! Squirrels are just SO darn cute! I think I'd fall head over heels for any animal that was that friendly though.

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  12. Those squirrels are so cute! We have really social ones at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove, so many of them are fat little cuties because tourists love feeding them (but with such cute faces, how can one resist?!). Fantastic photos, thank you for sharing!

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    1. Haha, I LOVE fat squirrels.

      Thank you so much! :)

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  13. Gorgeous pics! Love the wildlife, the seals are so cute lazing around!

    Talia // Floral Anchors

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  14. Awww it's so sad that the couple didn't think of a lap squirrel as anything exciting!

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  15. Those squirrels are too much. We have a bunch that like to hang out on our balcony and taunt my indoor cats. I think they're using our flower bed as a nest.

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  16. Just found your blog last night. Loving your photographs. If you're fond of squirrels you should read Kate DiCamillo's book 'Flora And Ulysses' (very cute).

    Looking forward to reading more.

    ~Melissa

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    1. Thanks so much, Melissa! I'll check that out.
      :)

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  17. Oh my goodness! The squirrels here!!!

    So when my boyfriend and I stopped at Peidras Blancas, it was a terribly windy day and so I was trying to get all bundled up and my cameras prepared as my boyfriend opened his car door in the parking lot. As soon as he opened the door, he started saying "shoo.. go away!" and I asked him what was going on. "The squirrel is trying to jump into the car!!!"
    "No it isn't... it will be fine", I replied as he kept shooing the squirrels away.
    Then I opened my door and what do you know, the squirrels came running over!! I then started taking pictures as well and those little guys were full on standing on their back legs & begging!
    There was one little guy who was missing an eye and we kept seeing him as we walked around and at one point he was running around with a napkin in his mouth!

    Here are some of my photos of the elephant seals at that time (they were molting when we visited!)

    http://unboredhands.blogspot.com/2015/04/piedras-blancas-elephant-seals-molting.html

    http://unboredhands.blogspot.com/2013/05/piedras-blancas-elephant-seals-diana.html

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