I am in love! I have always loved the beach, but this weekend on an impromptu road trip, I found that the ocean is fabulous for rejuvenating, recharging and grounding, but nothing beats a forest for filling and feeding your soul.
On Saturday morning, I woke up with a whisper in my head, “Morrow Bay!” I weighed the value of visiting a new place versus going back to my old favorite, Hendrey’s Beach in Santa Barbara. New won. I mapped the fastest route for us, almost four hours versus two-and-a-half. Still, the whisper of Morrow Bay continued to ring in my ears.
I loaded up a change of clothes and booked a motel 6 in Morrow Bay, California for my dogs and me. It was far from a budget weekend, being so close to the ocean, but the destination was a perfect balance between San Louis Obispo and San Simeon and the Hearst Castle. There was plenty to see and do.
The drive through the desert town of Bakersfield and the wine country was uneventful, monotonous even, so different than driving through Valencia, Fillmore and Santa Paula towards SantaBarbara. I drove by dead almond trees, thousands of which had been cut waiting to be ground up for mulch. Eventually, we arrived in Paso Robles wine country with hundreds, of acres of vineyards. I doubled back to stop at an avocado ranch for some huge fresh-piked Haas avocados.
Neil Donaldson photo
We arrived in Morrow Bay after almost four hours of driving. We drove around the bay and headed for a quiet dog-friendly beach. The temperatures on the coast were thirty degrees lower than at home in the Mojave Desert; the cool breeze was welcome.
On our way northward to Hearst Castle, we stopped for pie in the quaint, artsy town of Cambria, at Linn’s. The home of the famous olallieberry pie. It was tasty, not too sweet, but the crust was lacking the crispy texture that I prefer. I give their pie a 3 out of 5
because of the crust. Kohnen’s Bakery in Tehachapi has the best pie I have ever had from California to Colorado.
We drove northward to the Hearst Castle, arriving right at closing time – 5:00 PM. I wasn’t up for the entire tour and didn’t want to leave my dogs in the car for two hours anyway.
Only four miles further north on PCH 1 was a viewing spot for elephant seals. Both dogs were quite intrigued by the huge mammals sunning themselves on the beach. One huge bull tossed flipper after flipper full of sand over his blubbery body.
San Simeon coastline, California Route 1
Seeing these basking sea creatures in person is an incredible and exciting sight. We arrived shortly after 5:00 PM. The sun was beginning to set which meant we had gorgeous views of the coastline after our visit with the elephant seals. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect if I had planned it, which I didn’t.
After an afternoon at the beach, a bath and a coastline drive, the dogs and I were pooped. After watching the sunset magnificently, we packed it in around 8:00 and headed for our motel.
Sunday morning was a cool 56 degrees; I had to put on a pair of jeans. The light windbreaker I brought with me wasn’t enough for the morning ocean air. We headed south about twenty-five minutes
arriving in San Louis Obispo after watching the sun rise over the mountains on our way down through the passes. On our way back to Morrow Bay we found ourselves at a virtually unknown campground Cerro Alto in San Louis Obispo County just twenty minutes from Morrow Bay.
Entering the floor of the canyon surrounded by mountains on either side, the tree canopy welcomed us. Early in the morning, quiet except for the chattering of Jays, nuthatches, and tapping of woodpeckers the birds were undisturbed by our presence flitting and chattering among the tall branches. A dark brown bunny darted into the thicket on the side of the road as we approached. I had never seen a rabbit so brown in the wild.
The sunlight streaming through the overhead canopy and heady fragrance of fresh earth, composted leaves, fresh greenery was soothing to my soul. Ferns, poison ivy, and wildflowers dotted the underbrush. Several trees were laden with Spanish moss that I hadn’t seen since I left Georgia. I had forgotten how much I loved being surrounded by trees. The beach takes second place to being surrounded by a rich green canopy of huge 50-foot trees. I didn’t realize how much my soul missed trees. Living in the desert, I have to go to a park to be around trees; they are few and far between.
The blanket of green enveloping me lifted my spirits. Breathing in the quiet, unplugging from my cell phone, computer and clients was exactly what my soul needed. No one to talk to. No one’s problems to hear. Just me and the forest. My love affair is with the earth, one that forever supports me in my health, fulfillment, and connection. The twisted tree limbs overhead were magnificent and powerful. I get high being in nature naturally.
The undergrowth and poison ivy tinged with pink and red, berries on the ends of limbs laden with food for the birds to overwinter. A muffled snort in the gully below us surprised both dogs. Their ears pricked up, as they stood stock still. I listened again for the rustling of leaves of branches breaking. A large buck snorted again and walked slowly into the thicket.
Mountain lions frequent the high mountains but visit campgrounds on occasion. We have to stay alert walking in nature, as it is the home of so many wild creatures. Part of the excitement of being in nature is that you never know what you will see or hear. Being awake and alert focused on the moment deepens your experience.
Photo by Julie Muliere
I lay on a grassy hillside among golden stalks ready to drop their seeds for next year. The dark green leaves overhead in the clear blue sky created a beautiful contrast as the Jays chattered and flitted from one tree to the next. Four woodpeckers flew over me, and I closed my eyes breathing deeply. My lungs expanded in the cool fresh air. I felt so grateful.
I love the beach. Trees bring a fulfillment that the beach cannot. We need a balance of both, water and wood to feed our soul. On this weekend I had the magic of both, and I am so grateful for all that I experienced. I returned home ready to be fully present and compassionate for my clients because I took care of my soul.
Are you ready to find happiness and love? Are you certain that your life can be better, happier and more fulfilling but you don’t know how to get out of your way?
E-mail Jennifer for a private discovery session to find out if her work is a good fit for you. Jennifer works with women to build confidence, healthy boundaries, self-esteem and step into their innate power.
Find Jennifer’s books on Amazon. Jennifer is the author of the forthcoming book: Happy Here, Happy Anywhere The Guide For Overcoming Anxiety, Depression and Unhappiness Without A Prescription! Jennifer is both a healer and a love and passion coach. She empowers women to be the strong, powerful confident women they truly are, helping them find joy and love within so that life becomes a moving meditation filled with bliss, fun and happiness.