Thursday, August 30, 2012

San Simeon Point with Kids

I've been waiting for years to do a legal hike onto San Simeon Point. Until a couple of years ago, the point was owned by the Hearst Corporation, and previously by William Randolf Hearst of publishing fame. Today, it is publicly accessible property owned by the State of California.

We took the walk on a clear, sunny, warm day. This beach can be cold and windy, but of SLO County's North Coast beaches it's among the warmest on any given day due to its south-facing orientation. If the fog's going to burn off along this stretch of coast, it's a good bet this will be the first place to get a peek at sunshine. Plus, it's a great stretch of sand on an otherwise rocky coast.

We'd hoped to meet up with fellow family hikers and were greeted by one great mom and her boys. We waited briefly for the rest of the gang, but having learned from experience that folks often don't show when they say they will, we headed out.

The hike starts with a quick walk down the beach, then an easy walk up the bluff trail. We were waylaid by a forest of climbing trees that grabbed our children's attention and held it far longer than the hiking moms had anticipated. But once all branches were covered at least twice, we moved on down the easy, relatively flat, wide trail to the point.

The hike down from the bluff top is precarious. This is certainly not accessible by any wheeled vehicle - no strollers, no bikes, no wheelchairs. People with canes are unlikely to want to attempt it, nor are people with balance issues. I hiked ahead of the littlest kids in case they lost their footing. I figured my footing was pretty darn good, and my weight would offset their willowy builds should they come tumbling my way.

On the beach, we enjoyed a fantastic afternoon of picnicking, playing and some of the best tidepooling we've experienced in the county.

If you go, keep a very close watch on children and be aware that dangers abound: the tide can trap you on this beach, waves can knock you off the tide pool rock area, the rocks there are very sharp and there are steep drops into the water from the tide pools. The surf here can be very heavy and there's lots of wildlife.

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