By: Stacy Hoover •

As 2013 came to a close, we hit the road. With the Sierra’s bare of snow, we embraced the unseasonably warm weather and took to the coast. Cutting up the Santa Lucia Mountains, we made our way up Old Coast Road. At mile marker 6.47 we found our trail head: The Little Sur. Blissed-out with the weather, we hiked along the river ensconced between the steep canyon walls. A number of animals live amongst these chaparral covered mountains including mountain lions and deer. Hudson, with his tail tucked away between his legs, moved quickly, snout against the earth, both interested in and terrified of the smells. Getting as far as we could with the time we had, we did an about face. Aware of our return to safety, Hudson spent less time with the smells and focused his attention on the sounds as he marched back to the car.

Pleased with our little hike, we headed back out to Hwy 1. We stopped frequently, taking in the sweeping views, from a vantage point you don’t get driving right on the cliffs edge. We spent the rest of the day making our way down the coast, as the light shifted, new plants got noticed. The wide mid-day sun made the tree line look even more expansive, and as the sun worked its way towards the sea the large tufts of Jubata grass brought light to the rocky cliffs. And just as the last bit of light was fading, we noticed a herd of Elk grazing the coastal grasses along the side of the road.

We spent the rest of the weekend with family; hiking the dogs, exploring botanical gardens, playing games, eating delicious seafood, and always planning where to eat next. I wish I could have stayed there, doing nothing at all.

Onward to 2014.