While eating lots of good food is a fun part of a trip away, it does provide you with some encouragement to have a bit of exercise too to try and offset what you have consumed. Combine that with some scenery and a plan starts to emerge. Nancy had found out about a trail at Russian Gulch State Park that led to some waterfalls. This seemed like a worthwhile venture so off we set.
Sadly, our planning did not prove to be quite as good as we had hoped. The access route to the park was closed off at a certain point which we assumed to be the normal starting point. Instead, I think we were a bit further out that the distances in our guide suggested. Also, the distances they gave, even assuming the change in start point, were a bit optimistic. Consequently, as we headed further in and the clock ticked by, we realized that we were not going to get all the way to the falls and get back out again before it started getting a bit dark.
The valley is very sheltered, particularly at this time of year, so the lack of direct sunlight means it is a bit darker in there and, as the sun drops, it will get a lot darker than the surrounding area. It also gets a bit cold since the area is very moist. We wisely turned back to ensure we weren’t going to get uncomfortable. Besides, judging by the flow of water in the river along the valley floor, the falls were probably not at their most productive.
The valley itself was really pretty. Combinations of all sorts of plants that like damp environments and tall trees reaching up to gather sunlight at their highest reaches made you feel like you were in a scene from the Hobbit. I was particularly impressed by some young trees that had chosen the stump of a chopped down tree to use as their base. The little trunk rising out of roots that were drooping down the sides of the stump looked very cool.
When we had finished the walk, we headed around to a sinkhole in another part of the park. This is apparently quite impressive at high tide and when the waves are strong since the hole makes all sorts of sounds as the air is compressed by the water. Sadly, it was low tide while we were there so it was just a big hole. However, the walk there did give us a great view of one of the bridges along the Pacific Coast Highway.