Boulders, Aquariums, and Beaches - Northern California

Sometimes it feels like we don't do normal things very often. Most weekends we spend sleeping in the back of cars or in tents, eating camp food, going from one crag to the next to go climbing... Well, we did that this weekend again, BUT we also spent one day in Monterrey to visit the Aquarium.

We don't get up north in California very often, so this was a bit of a new experience for us. We drove up Thursday night to Castle Rock State Park, just south of San Francisco, in anticipation to do some sport climbing/bouldering on Friday. We got in too late to use the campgrounds which are a mile or so hike from the parking lot area, and there were signs all over the place about fees and no parking and park hours being over after sunset. We found a tucked away parking lot near the main castle rock parking lot area and parked there and slept in the back of Michael's jeep.

We didn't get caught... in fact, it might have been totally legal to sleep there, but we had no clue. We started the day off by looking for some of Castle Rock's sport climbing.

We found some sandstone rocks along one of the trails. This area is called Indian Rock. Many of the route's here were top-rope able, but Michael lead 2 routes and we tried one on top rope. The first climb (red) is a 5.10c called Vicious Circles. Michael did good on this one, but I had trouble with it. Michael was able to pull one of the harder moves statically because of his height, I had to jump, but I couldn't nail it. I gave up on that one. Then we climbed the one next to it (blue) which is a 5.10a called Blowing Bubbles. This one was pretty fun, and I would've lead it, but the bolts were run out and it didn't seem worth it. The last one (orange) we set top rope on, but I'm not able to find the name or rating of it online. Probably something in the 5.10b range. They were neat climbs, but kind of short and almost didn't seem worth the effort of setting up rope on.

So we packed up, ate some lunch at the car and headed off in a different direction to do some bouldering. I'm not going to try to find all the climbs we did, but I know we were at the Parking Lot Rock and Magoo Boulders for most of the afternoon. 

Michael working on a V2 at the Parking Lot Rock.

The bouldering was fun there. We made some friends, ate some food, climbed some rock... 

It always takes me a little while to get into the groove of bouldering, but I always end up really enjoying myself after a while. I bagged a V1, Mr. Magoo, which outdoor bouldering is always a bit tough for me, so that was cool. 

We had a good time. Had some beers afterwards in the parking lot and enjoyed the good weather in the back of Michael's jeep.

Then we headed out to Monterrey, California. We searched and searched for a campground, but everything was booked up. Which figures. We ended up parking in a Walmart and sleeping in the back of the Jeep there. Good ole Walmart.

In the morning, we got some coffee, and walked around Monterrey a bit before heading to the Aquarium.

In the spirit of Easter weekend, I brought my Peeps along. ;) I bought them for both of us, but turns out Michael hates Peeps... more for me. Also, don't make fun of my hat. I'm experimenting with ways to make the general public think I haven't been sleeping in the back of the car all weekend and haven't showered.

The Monterrey Aquarium was sick! We had a good time there. They had some cool penguins, an epicly large deep sea tank, some otters, and some of these badass jellies below. We spent most of our day there.

Before heading back to Bakersfield though, we decided to pop down to Carmel, California. To drink the last of our beers (hidden in our nalgenes) on the beach.

It was cold, but beautiful.

It was nice doing something different... and I missed the beach. Life isn't always about bagging peaks and meeting climbing goals. Sometimes it's nice to just take a few days to relax, have fun, and drink beers on the beach. This was that kind of weekend for me. 

Check out the Monterrey Aquarium if you are ever in that area.