17-Mile Drive is a famous tourist track in Carmel near Monterey, California. I was lucky enough to be attending a conference at Asilomar Conference Grounds right on the beach. Each morning I'd wake up early due to the jet lag (for once I was thankful for it!) and take a dawn walk along the water. Most mornings, I'd go north and east but one morning I decided to go in the opposite direction from Asilomar and set out to the west.
I followed the road for about 2 minutes until I came upon a deep sandy trail. The trail snaked past hardy plants and crashing waves in the pre-dawn glow.
As the sun burst onto the scene and I watched sea otters frolic in the surf, I realized that I'd wandered onto 17-Mile Drive.
I walked all the way out to China Rock where I met this little fellow.
All along the route, I was impressed by the shadowy cypress trees bent by years of assault by the wind.
On the way back to Asilomar, I noticed these piles of rock runes left by previous hikers and thought about just how lucky I was to be experiencing this.