The road we traveled from Inverness to Kehoe Beach is just two lanes. You really need to know where Kehoe Beach is because the sign is NOT overly large nor is there ANY sizeable parking areas ... just the space on the shoulder of the road. Luckily, it was Monday and most people are are their jobs or otherwise occupied; there was only 1 car parked on the shoulder. Our Jeep doubled it.
Once you've walked past the trailhead sign, you see the Warning sign. I don't know about you but I think I can deal with the sharks, the undertow and the currents.
But those sneaker waves?? THEY sound treacherous.
(Now, if I was truly clever with photo manipulation, I would have created and included a wave made of sneakers crashing on the beach. But alas, I am not that talented, so you will need to use your imagination.)
This part of the California coastline is flat. It's only .6 miles (that's "point six" as in slightly over 1/2 mile) from the trailhead to the beach. How difficult could it be? (Yes, you may cue the ominous music) For about .4 miles the trail is easy. I'm talking EASY. Hard-packed dirt and flat, flat, flat. As I stood in one spot, I took a picture towards the trailhead (that's Mr. Pirate you see in the distance) and then turning 180°, towards the beach. (That little speck of blue is the narrow inlet from the sluggish "stream" the trail followed towards the ocean). We traversed this part of the trail in a blink of an eye.
Along this part of the trail, was some interesting sedimentary rock layers. It is clear to see that layers of stuff was deposited on the floor, solidified and then through earthquake activity, this part was pushed up at an angle.
Beautiful, small wildflowers were abundant along the trail and I happily snapped pictures of all of them. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered that the picture on the right was the ONLY one in focus. All the rest were blurry. [sigh] I'm not sure if I moved the camera, had the wrong setting or we had a series of indetecible earthquakes at the exact time I snapped the shutter, but the end result was the same: dismal pictures. I had considered simply not including them, but ... what the heck .. here's the state of the art of my photo-taking abilities. :-)
Then ... da dum ... da dum ... we hit sand. Loose sand. Sand that acted like marbles. You KNOW you're walking forward but you swear you're traveling backwards. Even worse, this part of the trail was .. ohmigawd .. uphill.
Mr. Pirate discovered that you are doomed if you use a normal walking stride; short steps were the answer. Even then, with every step we took, the sand slid away from our shoes; it was as though you simply could not get any traction.
So we trudged .. I mean trudged ... along this last eighth mile. I'm convinced that it took us 3 years to walk this part.
The Park Service thoughtfully installed a bench where one could stop, rest and contemplate the vargaries of nature ... or even try to figure out why you wanted to see this beach in the first place.
wise ass considerate person even put a labeled piece of wood on the bench so you would know what you were supposed to be doing.
But at last! at LONG LAST!! the final crest of that gawdawful sandy path was conquered and THE BEACH was now at hand! Or at foot, if you want to be accurate.
If it wasn't for being totally exhausted and gasping for breath, I would have felt as though I had conquered Mt. Everest.
As it was, in the back of my mind, I knew that we had to come back the very same way in order to return to our car.
Just let me die on the beach; I may never make it back UP the sand to the hard-packed dirt.
Once on the beach itself, it was blessedly hard packed due to the ocean waves. There were hundreds and hundreds of sea gulls sitting just outside the reach of waves. As we walked towards them (and even Mr. Pirate, for once, didn't go screaming wildly into their mass like a little 9 year old boy), they very calmly either walked further down the beach, out of our way, or took to flight.
The waves swelled and broke ... and rolled onto shore, as waves are wont to do. (I love that phrase but you gotta say it with an English accent or even a pseudo English accent. It's the only way to do it properly.)
For whatever reason, waves are not like campfire flames. I just can't sit and watch them forever; I get bored.
[A small digression: I was born and raised on the San Francisco peninsula. The ocean is on one side and San Francisco Bay is on the other. But seeing as the water and weather is so frickin' COLD, I never spent ANY time at the beach to speak of. (Besides the beach always smelled like rotting seaweed. Ick.)
So it was with considerable astonishment that I discovered at the ripe age of about 22 (or thereabouts) that the ocean doesn't stop. Ever. [smack head upon wall]
My family & friends had decided to meet for dinner at a seaside restaurant down the peninsula. As the sun set and darkness began, I distinctly remember being hugely surprised when the crash of the ocean waves didn't stop when it got dark!
Well, duh. Fortunately, I had presence of mind to hold my tongue and not admit my utter stupidity to my relatives. It is only because I know that YOU, Dear Reader, will hold my confession in confidence that I have mentioned it at all. :-) ]
As we walked along the beach, we came across a tree stump! Well, at least it was either the top of a tree stump or a cross-section of a tree trunk ... we didn't dig down to find out.
My first thought was "oh my gosh, the tree line used to be *here* but the ocean encroached and killed all the trees!" but upon further inspection, there *were* no other trees ... or remains of trees.
Mr. Pirate probably got it right in that a cut section got washed up on the beach. Two points for Mr. Pirate. It wasn't petrified, for sure, cuz Mr. Pirate whipped out his handy-dandy pocket knife to find out. :-)
We discovered, to my sorrow, dead jellyfish on the beach.
Lots of dead jellyfish.
Even more dead jellyfish.
And drowned, dead jellyfish.
I was sad; I've seen live jellyfish at the Monterey Aquarium and they are mesmerizing. We had a small discussion on whether they were dead and washed up on the beach or if they were washed up on the beach and then died. Personally, I think they were dead before they hit the sand because if they were alive, they'd be swimming (or whatever it is that jellyfish do). It's not as if they want to lie on the beach and get a tan. Ergo, I win this discussion. 2 points for me. :-)
By now, we had run through the high points of Kehoe Beach. We had other places to
pillage visit and enjoy.
But first ... oh dear .. remember the trek we endured to get to the beach? Well, the out is the same as the way in, so step by small step, we got through the slippery sand and returned to the Jeep.