At the bottom of the Devil’s Slide trail, there are the remains of a building. This appears to have been a lookout location. There were a number of military installations here at one point. Just south of the tunnel entrance and up on the headland is the concrete core of what was once one of the buildings. The ground has eroded away at the base of the structure and the walls have gone in some places but the concrete core is still there. It has been covered by graffiti artists over the years and is still popular with the more adventurous types. A couple was climbing into it while we were there. It looks pretty cool on a sunny day. On a cold and foggy day, I suspect it will be a bit more depressing.
When my mum was visiting, I thought it would be a good idea to take her to Devil’s Slide to walk along the coastal trail. We drove out there and, coming across the bay we went into some pretty thick fog. I was tempted to bail on the plan at that point but we decided to keep going and see how things were. Even as we were on Highway 1, it was still foggy. It really didn’t look like a good idea at all. The best bet for turning around was at the parking for the trail so we went there anyway. It still looked bad but we got out and decided to take a look. The sun felt like it was trying to poke through the overcast so we took a chance.
Turns out we were lucky. As we walked along the trail, the sun was burning through and the view was opening up beneath us. There was still a lot of cloud around but it seemed to be receding from us as we walked. Equally importantly, the conditions meant there was little wind unlike my previous visit when I felt like I could get blown off my feet at some times.
We walked most of the trail and then headed back. It was a great time to be up there and the waves crashing below us looked great. The whole time, I was only shooting with my phone. I hadn’t anticipated the walk working out so I had left the main camera in the car while we checked things out. Instead, we kept going. I was shooting in RAW for the first time on the phone and that will get a post of its own in due course. It turned out our timing was really good. Once we were back and driving up the coast, the cloud started to drift back in again. I think we got rather lucky.
Shortly before we moved to California, a change was made to the route of Highway 1 along the Pacific coast. Many stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway run along the tops of cliffs. One section south of Pacifica was very prone to landslides with regular disruption to the accessibility. After many years of debate, the decision was made to create a twin bore tunnel for the highway to bypass the troublesome area without impacting on the surrounding area.
The surplus highway was not abandoned though. Once closed, work was started to convert it into a trail for walkers and bikers. This was opened not long after we arrived. Ever since reading about it, I had been thinking of checking it out and, on our way home from a weekend down in Half a Moon Bay, we stopped to see what it was like.
The whole thing is probably 1.5 miles in length. It certainly includes some pretty steep slopes considering that this was once a highway. The views over the cliffs to the ocean below are stunning. You are pretty exposed though. On the day we were there, there was quite a strong wind. Sections of the trail are a little sheltered so you don’t notice the wind. Others, though, are in the teeth of the wind. One area has a cutting between a rocky peak and the cliff face. The wind really accelerates through here and we were working hard to keep on our feet!
Supposedly you can get migrating whales coming very close in shore at this location. I would certainly want to go back to see if we can some whales. The high angle would certainly make it easier to spot them compared to the normal effort picking out the clouds of spray when they exhale. I will be interested to see how busy it can get. It was not too popular when we were there but maybe the timing was not good for many people.