Point San Luis Lighthouse, Part 1

It’s taken me awhile to gather my thoughts together to write about our hike to the Point San Luis Lighthouse last August. But, finally, it is done and here it is!

Lighthouse high above the Pacific Ocean

Lighthouse high above the Pacific Ocean

Foamy, white-capped waves gently crashed against the jagged cliffs where I stood in front of the old lighthouse, high above the turquoise sea.

Perhaps, years ago, one of the residents of the lighthouse, a young girl named Lucy, stood on these same cliffs, watching the migrating hump-backed whales frolicking among the waves and spouting water from the blow holes on their backs. Or, maybe she enjoyed viewing the ships as they chugged their way home through the ocean to their destination in the Port San Luis Harbor.

Front View of Lighthouse

Front view of lighthouse

During the 1930s, Lucy Brohard called the Point San Luis Lighthouse, “home”. This Victorian-style lighthouse, whose beam guided ships safely for decades to the Port San Luis Harbor, is located near Avila Beach on the central California coastline.

Side view of the lighthouse

Side view of the lighthouse

What a fascinating life Lucy must have had growing up in a lighthouse!

Completed in 1890, this beautiful, historic landmark was fully functional until the coast guard closed it 1974. Today, thanks to the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, a non-profit corporation, it has been restored to the way it looked in 1890 and is open to the public.

Since I had never been to a lighthouse before, I had to go and see this place for myself.

Hiking along the Pecho Coast Trail

Hiking along the Pecho Coast Trail

There are only two ways visitors can reach the lighthouse: by trolley or by foot. This aloofness with the rest of the world made the lighthouse even more fascinating to me.

Meeting place for hike

Meeting place for hike

Wanting the full experience, my husband, Dan, and I chose the guided hike along the Pecho Coast Trail. The trail itself is a 3.6 mile, round-trip adventure. It begins at the Fisherman’s Memorial on Avila Beach Drive, near the Harford Pier. Several knowledgeable docents led the walk as we climbed up the side of the coastal hill, above the harbor.

View of San Luis Harbor below where we saw dolphins playing

View of San Luis Harbor below where we saw dolphins playing

Below, we saw dolphins playing in the water.

Dusty-footed Wood Rat home

Dusty-footed wood rat home

The trail led up and then down into Diablo Canyon, which was filled with oak trees. Along the way were homes belonging to the dusky-footed wood rat, some as high as five feet tall. These industrious woodland creatures collect branches to build their homes, organizing the insides by rooms. We were warned not to drop anything shiny because the rats find them extremely irresistible for decorating their habitats.

Whaler's Island

Whaler’s Island

We climbed out of the canyon and overlooked the harbor once again. Below, Whaler’s Island jutted out into the Pacific Ocean.

 Girl swinging over the Pacific Ocean

Girl swinging over the Pacific Ocean

Just around the corner, in view of the lighthouse, a swing, hanging from a nearby eucalyptus tree, faced the sea. Some of the girls from our tour ran towards it and immediately started swinging high into the air. I imagine if this toy was around when Lucy resided here, she would have spent hours on it.

To be continued next Wednesday…

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