ESCAPE to Ano Nuevo 2017

ESCAPE to Ano Nuevo

A trip to see the elephant seals and Pigeon Point Lighthouse

The sky was blue as we left DeJean Saturday morning.  We were grateful for every moment that the inevitable rain delayed its arrival. Just in case, we brought a dozen extra umbrellas as there would be no shelter where we were headed.  About 40 of us made our way south down the coast to Ano Nuevo State Reserve, where every year, the elephant seals return from feeding in Hawaii, Alaska, and all over the Pacific.  

Ano Nuevo is one of the special places that the seals choose to haul out and compete for females, give birth, and mate for next year’s offspring.  We get tickets to take this tour eight weeks in advance, and always feel so fortunate to be this close to the wildlife.  It’s definitely a unique experience.

The hike out to the beach is a little more than a mile, and the weather was cool, but not unbearable.  It felt like a nice day for a good walk. We saw pups nursing with their moms, alpha males threatening the younger males getting too close to their harems, and lots of sleeping, snorting, and sand flipping.  We saw the deserted house/research station out in the distance on Ano Nuevo Island from years past.

Most years, we take time after the hike to walk down to the beach, just south of the Reserve.  But this year, storm winds and king tides made the beach not just wet, but even dangerous.  We also feared that our other planned destination, Pacifica Pier, would be closed due to the storm.  So we wandered up the road a few miles to Pigeon Point Lighthouse.  From there, we could safely look down on the huge waves and watch them crash into the shoreline.  We caught a little of the history of the lighthouse, and saw the old lamp and lenses.  It was a worthy replacement activity for the afternoon.

The gray skies finally relented to raindrops on our way home, but we’d already seen so much, and we counted the day a success.  We’re grateful for so many chaperones who showed up to drive our kids, for those who support us financially so we can get so many tickets, and for students brave enough to get out of the house on a gray, rainy day.

And unlike recent years, we don’t have to wonder if there will be snow in the mountains next month!  Enjoy the photos and the video, and we’ll see you again soon.

Check out the video if you have a few extra minutes!