Travels Without Piggy: Postcards From San Francisco

The family and I went to San Francisco/Monterey last week, both to escape the cold (we have not made it above freezing in the entire month of February, nor does it look like we will until March. Or possibly August 2020) and to visit Maestro and the Saint. Unfortunately, Piggy had a prior engagement in Paris, so she had to settle for the pictures I sent to her. Like these:

half moon bay 3We walked along the beach at Half Moon Bay.

alcatraz dockWe toured Alcatraz, then sat on the dock and watched the boats in the bay and thought of ways to escape.

pool 2

We swam. Which doesn’t sound like much until you contrast swimming outside with that whole Month Below Freezing thing we left behind.

claireWe took a side trip to hang with Super author and seriously awesome woman Claire McEwen. If you ever want to see porpoises in the ocean, go walking with her. We would have missed them completely if not for her telling us what to look for.

We saw the Monterey Aquarium and Hearst Castle and the sea lions at Pier 39. We hiked gorgeous trails and wandered the campus of Stanford and drove the twisty cliff-and-ocean-side Highway One from Monterey to San Simeon. (That is, Hubs did the driving. I was too busy squeezing my eyes tight and preying non-stop.)

But my favorite part of the whole trip – the part that had Piggy squealing with envy – was when we stumbled across a beach full of elephant seals.

assorted sealsYes, real elephant seals! We had no idea that we would be driving past one of their preferred beaches until we passed a sign alerting us to the fact. We pulled into the designated parking spot, headed to the boardwalk, and holy crap. HUNDREDS of elephant seals, from pups to full grown giant males, making more noises than we could ever have imagined.

seal water

We saw a lot of posturing males, but no real confrontations (thank heaven). We watched one male attempt to get frisky until the female let him know in no uncertain terms that she was NOT interested. And best of all, we saw pups!

pups 1They played and nursed and bothered their mothers and made high-pitched trilling noises that had us utterly entranced. We visited twice and wished we could go back again.

Who needs Paris when you can have elephant seals?