Jaden’s first trip to the ocean would be to Asilomar State Beach. He technically has seen the ocean before when we took a trip to northern California, but he was unable to walk on the beach or play in the ocean. This time however, it was going to be different and Jaden was very much looking forward to it. Thanks to some friends at church for the invite, we would soon be on our way to create that first experience for Jaden!
Monday morning came and we began to pack up the car for a ride over to the coast. We departed at 830 AM and were supposed to be at the beach by noon. It was going to be about a 3 hour drive and we were going to need to make a stop mid way. Now I was hoping we could just drive straight through, but the break was well needed and had a great view.
We were beginning to leave the central valley when I hear from the back seat, “daddy, I need to use the bathroom.” Thinking quickly for a spot to pull over and make a bathroom, I catch a sign that read, “visitor center next left.” How great is this I thought to myself as I made my way into the left lane. In less than a mile we crossed traffic and made our way into the visitor center. The visitor center must have been remodeled or something because it looked very new. Great displays and information about the history of the reservoir. However, we had pressing matters to deal with so off we went. Soon that was behind us and we were heading back outside. Before leaving, we went to the overlook to see how full, blue, and big the reservoir was that day.
Now that the break was over, we hoped back in the car and returned to the highway. We were going west into the coastal mountains and ultimately to Monterrey Bay area. We ended up getting there about 30 minutes for lunch. Some friends from church were just ahead of us and told us some places they enjoyed to grab food for lunch. We just followed suit and grabbed some rice bowls (very delicious). While we waited in the restaurant, they said we could have some complimentary tea. Jaden was very excited about this idea and wanted some. However, he is used to sweetened too and soon discovered not all tea is made equally. It was good. Soon we made the last bit of the drive to Asilomar State Beach.
We found a parking spot near our friends who pulled in a few moments before we did. It was a nice sandy cove like area. Part of the shore was rocky, which was going to be perfect for playing and finding sea creatures. However, it was lunch time and both Jaden and I were ready to eat. The picnic blanket was set on the sand and soon we were eating our bowls of food. The view was great with the sounds and smells a coastline offers.
I originally ordered the same rice bowl and Jaden had the chicken. We ended up trading out because the salmon was was easier for him to cut into smaller pieces. The chicken no so much so the trade was well received. It would not take long and Jaden was ready to meet up with his friends Andy and Joey. Timmy would join them in a bit.
Time was ticking away and the kids didn’t waste a minute. They shared their buckets and toys with Jaden as they began to play in the rocks. Jaden enjoyed getting his feet wet and soon helped build water ways. Andy was hunting for hermit grabs, so Joey and Jaden wanted to help for a time. Eventually I went up on a high point to get a view of the ocean. There I saw a crab that retreated between the cracks. I shouted for the boys to check it out, which they all climbed part way up to see. Once they were back on the sand, I finished my very short climb.
Once I enjoyed the breeze and view, I made my way back down to the boys. They were happily playing along and without a moment of boredom. There was so much to do and see. Jaden was having the time of his life and getting a little warm. I made sure to get sunscreen on him so he could “cool off” without getting burnt.
At this point Jaden was getting a little bored. I thin he wanted to do some controlling during the play but the boys wanted to do their own thing. Also Jaden had been pretty much in one spot, so I took him over to see another spot. The tide was going out so it opened up more opportunities to explore.
The shade made it a lot colder, especially with the ocean breeze. We didn’t see much on the south side of the cove we were in so we headed back. Victor was out looking for sea creatures and found something that sparked excitement. At this point the boys were all building “castles” and kingdoms in the sand. Now a starfish was alive and in their castle! Jaden, cautiously observed, but soon had picked up the starfish himself to examine it.
As the boys continued to play Victor and I began to explore the rocks. We found some other creatures that we could not bring back with us. One was a beautiful green and purple colored sea anemone. We both grabbed some photos before it was time to explorer for the last hour. It was time to get some rock climbing and hiking in to help get more energy out of the boys.
The trail we came down into the cove on forked and headed south. It was also adjacent to the road at times, so we all kept a watch on the kids as we made our way down the beach. Soon we found a cobble field. I had to teach Jaden how to carefully walk on them and not try to race. Nobody wanted a kid with a broken ankle. It wasn’t too big of a deal but he wanted to “hurry” and catch up with his friends. Anyway, we did catch up just fine to them tossing rocks in a small pool of sea water. This ended up being a lot of fun for 5 to 10 minutes.
Tossing the rocks soon ended and we began exploring further south. At this point there was a lot of seaweed left on the craggy rocks. We found others poking around and soon saw two more starfish in the area. Needless to say there were seashells at this point along with more anemones hanging around.
Walking further south on the trail we finally found the more popular beach area. The sand was smooth and very fine. Although nice to walk on, it sure liked to stick to your skin, shoes, and clothing. Not like mud or clay, but one would need to really rinse off well to get all the fine particles completely removed. The part we were at in the beginning was coarser sand and easy to brush off. Anyway, the boys were surprised by this chance in texture.
Jaden was yelling up to me that the sand had changed. I was up talking with Grace before catching up with the three of them down below. Grace waited for the others and I told her I would follow the three of them while Victor caught up. Eventually we were all on the surf of the beach. Some people were even swimming in the ocean at this time. Jaden wanted to give it a try, but I told him he would be so very cold. Soon after he mentioned his feet were cold and I reminded him to imagine his whole body that way. The light bulb went on and we decided to play on the shore some more.
The last part of the day at the beach the boys spent covering up a wooden log. It almost looked like a maple glazed doughnut. Umm maybe at this point I was getting hungry too. It was reminding me of food though and, being 430 PM, it was time to head back the vehicles.
The hike back was about 5 to 10 minutes tops. The kids were all getting hungry as were the adults. We had quite a drive to go home so we ended up saying thank you and goodbye to our friends. On the way home we stopped at a German sandwich deli to expose Jaden to new food. He liked bratwurst a lot along with the sauerkraut. Being a big pickle fan, that made sense. Soon after it was a long drive home and we didn’t get back till 9 PM. It was a long, but enjoyable day at the beach. Thanks to Victor and Grace for the invite!