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Thrilling Encounter on Grey Whale Cove Trail

It started out like so many of our early Saturday mornings do … we had breakfast and tossed around ideas about what to do that day. Northern California offers a bounty of dog friendly options, and we debated a trip to the beach or a drive in the mountains to visit a few wineries. But we decided on a hike – something with great views of the ocean and wasn’t too long for Ty and Buster, given it was going to be a warm, sunny day. A little poking around online uncovered Grey Whale Cove Trail. It sounded perfect, and since we knew the whales were migrating, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of a few along the way. Little did we know what thrilling encounter the day would hold!

Many of California’s state parks prohibit dogs on the trails, so it’s takes a bit of investigation to find hiking spots where dogs are welcome. Several times we followed advice from other people about places they took their dogs, only to discover that they’d been breaking the rules and going places they shouldn’t. Even though we don’t always agree with the decision to ban dogs from an area, we respect the rules and only take Buster and Ty where they’re allowed. So finding Montara State Beach, just south of San Francisco, was a big score. The boys were allowed on the trails, and the views were killer!

Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

The trail starts out with a bit of a climb and then levels off as it winds around the hill. Below the trail is the famous California Hwy 1, and just beyond that are the crashing waves of the cold Pacific.

Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Ty and Buster found a bench and settled in to admire the scenery, watch the pelicans dive, and keep an eye out for grey whales.

Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Catching a shot of a whale takes a truckload of luck and far more patience than I possess, but I did manage to snap a few shots of passing whales as they spouted and then dove back into the deep.

Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Watching whales wasn’t nearly as interesting to Ty and Buster as it was to me, and before long they were getting antsy. We decided to take the steep trail to a lone tree at the top of the hill for a better view, but there were other options that would have made for a less strenuous hike.

Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

About half way through our climb we noticed something on our tail …

Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Two scarlet macaws were circling us! Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

These birds were HUGE, and came in for a close enough look that they made me a little nervous. But watching them perform their choreographed dance in flight took my breath away, and I doubt I’ll ever experience anything like it again. Macaws are native to Central America, so these two either escaped or were set free and their now living their lives on the California coast. They seemed to be familiar with humans, and I got the feeling they flew so close either because they were looking for food or they were checking to see if they recognized us. Either way, they turned our hike into a breathtaking day!

Still buzzing after the macaws flew away, we finished our climb and perched on top of the hill to reflect on the many amazing things that have happened to us since we started traveling. This experience could have so easily slipped through our fingers if we’d made just one different decision along the way … left instead of right, here instead of there … it’s a fantastic reminder that the Universe is a wondrous thing.

Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

And, once again, I’m so grateful for these two characters. Without them, there’s no chance we would have been on that hill.

Ty and Buster at Grey Whale Cove Trail - Pacifica, CA

Traveling with dogs makes our lives richer. What wondrous things have you experienced because you travel with your pets?

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  • It was really incredible, Mel, and when I looked up what it means when you see a parrot, this is what I found: If Parrot has swooped across your path, he is asking you to stay alert. New ideas which can bring about new growth or a new direction is imminent for you. Pay attention to the signs around you. Perhaps its the perfect time to go after the dreams you once thought were out of reach. Alternatively Parrot may be asking you to learn new language skills. Perhaps your self talk has been more negative than positive of late. Take the time to become aware of what you are saying to yourself.Makes it even cooler, right?! =)

  • Mel Freer says:

    I just sighed looking at your pictures and reading what happened. What the universe gives you can be breathtaking sometimes. Incredible Amy. Powerful, awe-inspiring and wondrous. Wow.

  • Truer words were never spoken, Gus! <3

  • Yay! I’m so happy to help, Leah, and I hope you have a fantastic time. Keep an eye out for the parrots, and waggin’ trails to you all.

  • That will be interesting, Pamela! I can’t wait to hear how Honey reacts either. I’m so excited for you guys to … what should we say? “Hit the road” obviously isn’t right. Jump aboard? Pull anchor? Unfurl the sails? =D

  • Gus Onyx says:

    EVERY trip is better with a dog!! ~(:

  • Leah Erb says:

    I added the Grey Whale Cove trail to my places to visit… I’m planning my first 2-dog longer road trip for Jan/Feb ’15 and was hoping to find a spot for whale watching, so thanks! Hopefully we’ll make it that far south (from NW Washington).

  • Grey Whale Cove looks like a lovely place to visit with pups.I like going everywhere with Honey. But I can hardly wait to see what she makes of dolphins from our sailboat. From a big ferry, they don’t capture her interest. But perhaps when they’re only a few feet away, she’ll show some interest.

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