After leaving our campsites in Gualala (and taking a feeding break at Fort Ross) we met up with everyone at Goat Rock State Beach located in Jenner, CA. Dallas and I both agree that it was one of the most scenic beaches we had been to along the California Coast. The Russian River meets with the Pacific Ocean and creates a pretty cool sand bar running along the river's edge. It is a perfectly safe swimming and kayaking area because of the calm waters pooled along the sand barrier; in contrast to the strong undertow of the ocean side of the beach. The pictures below were taken from an over look at the beginning of Jenner looking down at the Russian River and the entrance to the Pacific. You can also make out the large family of seals (about 30 of them along with their pups) that call this their home. They love to lay out on the small piece of isolated beach.
When we started the descending drive into Jenner the weather was overcast, but by the time we circled around the lagoon, across the river, and drove out to Goat Rock Beach, the skies had cleared for a beautifully sunny afternoon in the sand. Everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch, played in the sand, and relaxed watching the wild life.
Daxton had not slept since that morning, so by the time we got to the beach he was exhausted and pretty mad that we were taking him out of his car seat. Once he was snuggled tight into the baby carrier and shielded from the sun, he settled down and slept on daddy's chest.
Picnicking while watching the waves
Sean showing off his killer daddy skills with sweet Abby
A not so happy Daxton, mad that the sun is shining on him. His "mad" consists of a serious stink eye without crying, so we can handle that. It was fun trying to get a family picture together though.
The south end of the beach was covered with really cool rocks and had an amazing view out to the arch.
I could spend all day laying out at the beach listening to the waves crash against the shore.
While trying to capture these 'footprint' shots I was kneeling in the sand...not the best idea when you're wearing long jeans. Needless to say a sneaker wave came up and got me from my thighs down. I was totally wet for the remainder of the day.
The absolute highlight of the day was seeing two whales off the coastline. I wish I could have captured better images of them, but by the time I would see them surface I wouldn't have enough time to get the camera in position. It was against the sun as well, which made it very difficult to see in the view finder.
Here are the images I did capture...
The first whale sighting off in the distance (the spray from the blow hole right in the middle of the picture.)
The whale is getting a little closer...
(I like the spray in this picture)
We seriously thought it was going to get beached with how close it was getting to land. You can see the waves crashing right below where the spray of the blow hole is pictured.
When we walked to the north end of the beach another whale came close to shore. You can see how close it is getting to the beach in this shot.
Swimming back out to sea...
I was pretty much out of control at this point, so Dallas had a blast teasing me about my obnoxiousness.
The walk up to the north end of the beach was gorgeous. This is where the river meets ocean and where all the seals hang out. They have created a cement barrier of sorts to help calm the waters from the ocean waves. There is still a good current pushing the water out to sea, but much calmer than the riptides on the other side of the beach.
Standing on the cement barrier, looking at the family of seals and their pups.
Next to the cement barrier, on the river side of the beach, there is a huge sand drop off that several kids were jumping off of. Little Adri had to give it a try. I love her cute curls blowing in the wind!
She quickly found that it was much harder trying to climb back up!
Smart use of the jacket, Sean!
We spent several hours exploring the beach and watching the whales and seals. It was the perfect day in my book! And little Daxton, snuggled up next to daddy, slept the entire time.
As we were leaving Goat Rock State Beach we found the most amazing look out showing off the gorgeous coastline.
I do love California!
We stopped about ten minutes south on HWY 1 in Bodega Bay for dinner...fresh fish and chips. Nothing beats fresh seafood after a fun day at the beach! Daxton woke up in the best mood, ate, and then sat mesmerized on my lap through all of dinner. I guess he's never seen a glass bottle before?? I love his facial expressions.
It was such a great weekend, with wonderful friends and Daxton did so well. Not too bad for his first camping trip!
Thanks for the great time everybody!