Point Sur State Historic Park

“When a traveler goes alone he gets acquainted with himself.”-Liberty Hyde Bailey

Along Big Sur Coast

Along Big Sur Coast

This tour is for any lighthouse lover or person who enjoys a great view.

First, understand that the tour is open only on weekends (Wednesdays, seasonally) and at two times during the day, once during the late morning and then in the early afternoon. My tour started around 2 p.m. Second, this is a guided, three-hour walking tour. A 360 foot rise in elevation that involves one to two flights of stairs. Third, arrive at least 30 minutes early outside the locked gate om Hwy 1 outside an old naval facility. Fourth, take money and/or a credit card with you as you are expected to pay once you reach the end of the tour.DSCN2026
I’ve never had an experience like this one and truly enjoyed it. You are greeted by a park ranger that directs you to travel an unpaved road that leads to the bottom of this large rock where another ranger will instruct you where to park.
The weather can change in this area so dress in layers and pack lightly; water and a few snacks. I used a walking stick. Also, wear a good pair shoes. If the group is large, the rangers will break you up into smaller groups which is helpful for the presentation.
The incline walk is manageable as the rangers lead you up and pause to tell you the history along the way while you gather your breath and shoot photos.
The scenery is breathtaking as you learn about the life of the light keepers, the lighthouse as well as the land around you. With clear skies, a warm sun and sea lions below barking away, I could not have asked for a better unplanned trip.
IMG_2656The lighthouse was under repair during my visit but we were still allowed to go up to the top and even walk outside against the strongest winds I’ve ever felt.
A set of stairs took us to buildings like the blacksmith shop, keepers home, water tower and several other buildings. There was even the jawbone of a young whale on display. Go inside the keepers house and look at the kitchen, sleeping area and other rooms that will bring back memories of appliances, or food packages that use to fill most American homes.
The staff was wonderful, knowledgeable and very kind. This tour was well worth the time and money. For those with disabilities and in need of help, call the park in advance for more information.








Here Comes the Sun (GSA chp. 6)

“With every rising of the sun, Think of your life as just begun.”-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

At 2:45 a.m., I shake off the deep voices of the night to venture into the darkness to watch the sun rise. To many this is an insane thing to do but for me it becomes a challenge worth taking.

Departing from the Kihei area at 3:10 , the drive time to the summit of Haleakala is two hours. For those traveling from Kipahulu will be 3-4 hours. The weather is unpredictable so I pack and dress for the unexpected. A long sleeve shirt, topped with a short-sleeved T-shirt, jeans and trek shoes. In my bundle I pack a thick jacket, my quilt and grab my backpack. The chase for the sun was on. The cool night air and clear sky welcomed me. Sunrise predication is 6:28 a.m. and I wanted to witness the show.

Driving conditions this morning are easy but you must stay alert to steep turns, rocks, cattle and heavy traffic. Health conditions is a consideration also. The high altitude could be difficult for those with respiratory or heart conditions (I used my inhaler prior to the climb and kept it close by). The summit is 30 degrees colder than the beaches.

At 6,700 ft. elevation, I stopped at the entrance to Haleakala to pay the entrance fee of 10.00 dollars. Keep your receipt. It allows access into the park for two extra days from your original visit. Gas up before the trip and bring your own food and drinks since there are no food or gas stations within the park. The 37 mile drive from sea level to the Pu’u’ula’ula summit is 10,023 ft., an unforgettable and shared trek. Numerous cars and tour buses fill the parking lot and await the spectacle. A flight of stairs lead to a glass shelter were people found refuge from the cold. Others, like myself, lined up along the stone wall outside, bundled in coats and blankets with cameras, some mounted on tripods, awaiting natures waking.

Spindly slivers of light in the east gives notice that the sun is on its way. In the dark, I can make out the shadows  of the clouds that linger in the air. For a moment, I feel as though I’m suspended between heaven and earth. The skies color changed again this time to a pale yellow. I hear the click of camera shutters and whispers of conversations in different languages all around me. “Here she comes,” I say more to myself than to any particular person as the sun crowns the horizon. From that moment there was no stopping it. The sun wanted its presence known as it pushed up.

This is unlike the sunrises that I’ve witnessed on any beach. It felt like a secret shared among a select few. The clouds became lighter in color and more pronounced in structure. Within fifteen minutes after its crowning, it reached its fullness and the “ah” of the moment ended. People dispersed to their cars to seek warmth. Others continued to photograph the area, friends or themselves with the morning light as a backdrop. There are observatories in the area but closed to the public.

At the Haleakala Visitor Center in the summit area, you have access to bathroom facilities, a gift shop and a Park Ranger that gives presentations about the volcano and its history. Hiking trails like the Sliding Sands, are rugged and strenuous. Be responsible and courteous to the trail areas for future generations. Leleiwi Overlook provides a view of the amazing volcanic vents called cinder cones which mark younger eruption sites.


Finding a Path to Prayer (CA chp.5)

“When at night you cannot sleep, talk to the Shepherd and stop counting sheep.”- Author Unknown

Maybe it was the cool breezes of the morning or the promise of a new day, but the wish to go off the beaten path challenged me. This time the burgundy Element traveled to Oceanside, CA to the “King of the Missions,” San Luis Rey de Francia.

Gleaming white buildings of adobe could be seen from the corner of 4050 Mission Avenue. This National Historic Landmark, founded on June 13, 1798 by Fr. Fermin Lasuen. Of the twenty-one Spanish missions, it is the 18th along the mission trail named after King Louis IX of France. San Luis Rey (St. Louis the King), named for a saint that was both king and Franciscan tertiary.

History begins with the Luiseno Indians that for many years inhabited the area. Their lives consisted of hunting and gathering. The self-sufficient, law-abiding behavior of the people became the forefront of the chief and shaman.

A Move Forward

When Spain established a mission, they were given the bare minimum of soldiers, supplies and padre’s true to their calling. Spain took the land, laid claim to it to prevent the Russians from the north as well as the British from claiming it first. The jobs of the Franciscans were to teach new skills and preach to the Indians and develop productive citizens for Spain. Father Antonio Peyri took charge of the mission until his departure January, 1832.

During this time the mission was the largest building in Alta California as well as self-sustaining with approximately, 3000 Indians, 50,000 head of livestock and an irrigation system for large portions of the land producing crops like grapes, olives, wheat and corn .

The Visit

The tour is self-guided, giving insight to the time of early California and the padre’s. Be aware that the Mission Church is currently preparing for renovations and will reopen by Christmas, 2012. Don’t forget to view the oldest pepper tree in California planted by Fr. Peyri from seeds given to him by a sailor from Peru.