It was still terrible weather in the morning, which was pretty concerning since we'd planned to drive down the coast that day. We started driving down highway 101, and fortunately the weather had cleared up by the time we reached the junction with highway 1.
Here we are at Stinson Beach north of San Francisco. Lovely!
I love this pic below with the bird soaring in the top left corner.
And finally we made it to Point Reyes National Seashore where we'd planned a hike to Alamere Falls. Oscar and I hadn't thought we'd want to do an 8 and 1/2 mile hike immediately following a 7 hour drive, but by the time we arrived, we realized we were still up for it. We had barely enough daylight, though. It was getting dark by the last couple miles of our return trip. But look at the coastal view we had on our way there!
You hike 4 miles on the trail before a side trial veers off to take you down to the ocean. Alamere Falls has several small drops like these before it's final cascade that drops directly into the ocean. Getting down is a bit scary though. The picture on the left below isn't just Oscar showing off in the middle of the rocks. That's actually how you have to go in order to get down to the coast. I managed to get down first and take the picture of him. The trip back up was much less scary since you were less likely to slip.
You'll pass two pretty lakes on the way in. I love the midnight blue color against the crisp green of the one in the left.
Unfortunately I have to say a word about our terrible accommodations that night. Since state park camping was only a few bucks less, we opted for privately owned Olema Beach campground that put us a few miles closer to the hike, had internet access, and had showers. I really wish we'd just driven further after the hike and paid for a cheap hotel in San Francisco (particularly since we drove halfway there just trying to find somewhere to eat), but we hadn't expected to do the hike that day and had already prepaid $44 for a tent site. The nearby hotels are all $200+ a night expensive resorts, so we opted to camp, even if it was pricey. $44 for a tent site is outrageous in and of itself, plus the internet service didn't work for us at all (due again to too many people taking up all the bandwidth streaming video), and the showers were horrible! The flow was incredibly weak, and they were on a short timer (mine was about 25 seconds and Oscar's was even shorter), which meant you had to keep turning it back on and getting really cold while you waited for it to start up again. I would have rather given my money to the state of California than to this horrible campground.
The next day we drove down to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I spent a lot of vacations here growing up, so it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. We mini-golfed and went on the roller coaster before driving to the lighthouse to take some pretty pictures. We wanted to get more pictures of the coast in this area, but unfortunately, everything in this area is a frigging state beach! California State parks/beaches don't just charge a lot for camping, they also charge $10 just to enter them. Since all we wanted to do was take some pictures, we didn't think it was worth it, so we continued driving.