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25 Years Online
••• The International Writers Magazine -Northern California

The Edge of the Earth
• Madison Damore
The sound of waves crashing up against the rocky terrain. The faint smell of salt lingering in the air. The ocean rolling out and crashing back in. The ocean greeting the cliffs - the cliffs we are about to hike.

Lobos Trail

My family and I were exploring Northern California, and needed refuge from the bustling tourist crowds. Our destination for the day was Point Lobos, a hidden gem of a state natural reserve and not widely known. It was March, the weather was pleasantly warm, accompanied by a refreshing breeze, blue skies, and wispy clouds.
      I suddenly noticed how long the hike was. I remembered that it was steep. Think coastlines meet cliffs. Steep and rocky cliffs. Steep and rocky and slippery cliffs. Steep and rocky and slippery yet beautiful cliffs. Imperceptibly, I moved with caution throughout the trail. What were we thinking, going on such a narrow path hike on the edge of a cliff? A dangerous hike yet such beautiful views of the ocean greeting the steep rocky slippery beautiful cliffs.
            “Is that the cliff we are hiking through?” I asked my dad, trying to hide the tremble in my voice, my nerves peaking through. It unmistakably was, yet the doubts occurring in my mind needed reassurance. My dad responded with a simple “yes” and we continued onwards.
     The reserve’s name, Point Lobos, derives from the Spanish language meaning the “point of sea wolves,” a homage to the sea lions that inhabit its shores. Legend has it that these marine mammals used their barks to aid early explorers, alerting them of the hidden rocks in fog or darkness. As we explored, we were treated to numerous sightings of these majestic creatures, lazily basking in the sun or gracefully floating on their backs in the waters, perhaps enjoying their midday munch.

Lobos steps The hike led us along a narrow path that wound its way through many different landscapes. We walked through towering forests, rocky steps, and eventually reached the edges of cliffs, absorbing breathtaking views of the vibrant blue waters below.

The initial leg of our hike took us through a dense forest of Monterey Cypress trees. These trees are uniquely adapted to thrive in California’s salty coastal environment, making Point Lobos an ideal habitat for them. Towing overhead, their branches intertwined. The distant crash of waves against the cliffs echoed through the forest, immersing us further into this hidden gem.         

Continuing along the trail, we navigated through rocky terrain, edging closer to the cliffs. Each step felt precarious, reminding us of the steep drop below. Descending a series of rocky steps, we found ourselves at a serene cove, its crystal waters reflecting the blue sky. Enclosed by towering cliffs with the majestic Monterey Cypress trees growing, the scene was awe-inspiring. Looking back the way we came, the rocky steps resembled a staircase to heaven. At that moment, I was overwhelmed by the beauty our world possesses.  Point Lobos

As we completed the final stretch of our hike, we ascended to the top of the cliffs. From this point, we gazed out over the rolling forest of Monterey Cypress in the distance, the rocky terrain we ventured through, and the vibrant blue waters stretching to meet the clear horizon. A sense of achievement washed over us. Standing at the top of the cliffs, immersed in the beauty of nature, I felt a sense of peace and wonder. I felt astonished by the landscape. I felt connected to something infinite, the timeless beauty and rhythm of the earth.
     We lingered for a few moments. Soaking in the serenity surrounding us. I inhaled the salty crisp air and exhaled, releasing an audible “ah”, letting go of all the worries and doubts that had been in my mind. “Let's take pictures!” I exclaimed to my family, excitement coursing through my voice. I wanted to remember this moment forever.    

Point Lobos As we concluded our hike along the cliffs of Point Lobos, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey we had just undertaken. From the initial anticipation to the awe-inspiring sights, every moment revealed the power and beauty of nature.

Traveling through the forests, navigating rocky steps, and finally ascending the top of the cliffs, we were greeted with panoramic views that stirred something deep within us. The crashing waves below, the salty scent in the air, and the towering Monterey Cypress trees all contributed to an experience that felt exhilarating.
     In the moments of tranquility during the hike, surrounded by the many wonders of nature, I couldn’t help but feel a deep connection to something greater than myself. Point Lobos had offered us not only a physical journey but a mental one, reminding us of the many wonders the world holds.
          A year has passed, yet the memories of our hike at Point Lobos remain vivid in my mind. This hidden gem of nature had opened its arms to us, inviting us to explore its treasures. That day taught me a valuable lesson: the world is vast and full of wonder beyond our daily struggles. Our worries, work stresses, regrets, and mistakes are small in comparison to the size of the universe. Sometimes we simply need to pause and gain perspective. Point Lobos gifted me this perspective, and for that, I am grateful.
      A year later and I still yearn to return to the staircase to heaven once again. To have the exhilarating feeling rush through my blood once again. To stand on the edge of the earth once again.

© Madison Damore 4.28.24
Madison is studying Writing, Publication, and Rhetoric at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

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