Thursday, March 4, 2010

17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach

As it was getting late in the afternoon Tuesday we decided not to stop in Monterey or tour the shops in Cannery Row. John had heard that the 17-Mile Drive along the coast of Monterey had some very beautiful scenic vistas of the ocean and something not to be missed. We did find out, upon entering the drive, that this is a gated area with a small entrance fee required. It was worth it. At the gate we received a brochure which pointed out points of interest along the way where we could stop. At one of those stops we were able to see, with the aid of a telescope, a large rock out in the ocean covered with birds and seal lions. Actually we were aware of their presence without the aid of a telescope because of the stench and noise! This area is home to many shorebirds, harbor seals and sea lions. It is a National Marine Sanctuary. At one of the overlooks we could see down into a very pure white sandy beach. Supposedly it is an irresistible place for harbor seals to bear their pups starting in April. At many of the stops we noted that the coastline was quite rocky with waves rising very high as they crash into the shore.  Quite awesome to view.
 Another important part of this drive is the Del Monte Forest. Within this forest is Crocker grove, a forest reserve with many species of native pine and cypress. Especially notable is the Monterey cypress. We did see the "Lone Cypress" which is the eternal symbol of Pebble Beach Company. It has lived 250 years and the hope is that it will last another 50. The Monterey cypress usually lives 300 years. It has already been shored up by cables as it struggles to survive on its rocky perch.
Another notable cypress is called the "ghost tree". It is just the remains of an old Monterey cypress whose trunk has been bleached white from the wind and sea spray. While we were there the sun went behind the clouds which made for an interesting silhouette of the tree.
Most golfers know this area because of the presence of many golf courses here, most famous one being the gulf links at Pebble Beach. At Pebble Beach links Jack Nicklaus was a five-time winner. We stopped at the Pebble Beach Lodge for supper. The back terrace of this inn has a view of the sweeping 18th fairway and beyond that Carmel Bay.

No comments:

Post a Comment