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Scenic Escapes: From Beach Strands to Nature’s Tranquility

scenic escapes
Phyllis McCrossin Avatar

This week the boys are with their father, so our daughter doesn’t need our babysitting services, which leaves King and I to fend for ourselves.

Yesterday King announced we would be taking a road trip to Hermosa Beach. Our son and daughter-in-law lived there for several years, and King likes to visit their former apartment building and the Strand. The Strand is a 22-mile-long section of the beach that includes numerous piers including Hermosa Beach Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach Pier and the Santa Monica Pier. It also includes lots of homes and shops. It’s a fun place to visit.

road trip

While I’m always up for a road trip, I’m also the navigator and truthfully a road trip north to the Los Angeles area with my directionally challenged husband does not sound like a relaxing time. Besides, our summer home-base is three miles from Lake Michigan and I’ll be honest, a beach is a beach. Granted Lake Michigan doesn’t have a “Strand,” but it does have a lot of beaches.

Lake Michigan

I also understand that probably 75 percent of the country does not realize just how big the great lakes are. Yes. We have lighthouses. Yes. We have freighters. Yes. We have ferocious storms. Yes. We have quaint little towns with harbors and kitschy shops. We don’t have salt water, sharks, sand dollars and abundant seashells. We have rocks. It’s different, but the same.

Great Lakes

So, this morning when I asked what time he wanted to leave he told me maybe we’d go to Cibbets Flats instead. Instead of driving an hour and a half north, we would be traveling an hour southeast.

Cleaveland National Forest

Cibbets Flats is one of our favorite remote campgrounds located in the Cleaveland National Forest southeast of San Diego. The campground has 25 primitive sites which are available on a first-come-first-served basis. While we were not going to camp there today, it’s always fun to drive out, park the truck and do some hiking along the Pacific Coast Trail which runs along the campground. (The complete trail is 2,663 miles long and runs from the U.S./Mexico border near Campo, California north to the Canadian/U.S. border). The section near Cibbets Flats campground is an easy hike with paths that divert from the main trail to follow along Kitchen Creek. King and Petra can scramble over rocks, I follow as far as I can but six years after double knee surgery, I still don’t trust my joints enough to traverse smooth rocks.

Cibbets Flats

We have been there with our previous dogs, Cindy and DK, but this was Petra’s first visit. She managed the rocks well but did slip and slide over the wet rocks. It wasn’t a long hike, but I have a feeling she will sleep well tonight. It was a good day.

Person traversing rocks in nature
Main Trail - Pacific Coast Trail

Tomorrow we will be heading to Goodwill so I can look for old frames for yet another tumbled glass project and Thursday is the boys school Christmas/Holiday program.

Life is good. Things are quiet and easy-going. It is as it should be.

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