September 18, 2010 - San Onofre Beach is not only a cool place to walk, it's a great place for camping and an AWESOME place for surfing!
If you enjoy beach camping, Camp Pendelton is the ultimate because you can camp right at the water's edge. The trick is that you need a military I.D. to camp here, a fortunate perk of having a father who served honorably in the U.S. Navy and also enjoys camping as well.
I first began surfing here in '77 and we started camping here at least once or twice a year in the early 80's.
The surf directly in front of the campground is actually not that great though there are usually some good body-whompers. As a "recovering" surfer I stick to body boarding these days, but anything that you do in or around the ocean, as far as I am concerned, is as good as it gets.
So, as for the walk, we ambled northward a few hundred yards before reaching the San Onofre Lagoon which is the outlet for San Mateo Creek. These riparian and wetland habitats support some rare and endangered species and were the crux of much debate when developers wanted to put in a new toll road. Surfrider Foundation and other ecologically minded agencies and people put a stop to that (for now).
Let's keep walking because the world renowned waves begin just up ahead where the string of epic surf breaks begin (Church, Middles, Lower Trestles, Upper Trestles, and Cottons).
If you want to get Trestles more quickly without tromping through the sand there is a little dirt road you can take, which we did.
You probably guessed, if you didn't already know, what the name "Trestles" is all about. A railroad track runs right along this stretch of land and there are a few trestles that support the tracks as they run over the wetlands. Visitors are warned not to shortcut across them as trains do come through frequently and people have died trying.
As our trek continued we encountered a large mob of people and a big grandstand setup. It sure looked a lot like a major surf contest. OMG! It just happens to be the 2010 Hurley Pro, an international event here at Lower Trestles where only the best surfers in the world compete. Did I mention that San Onofre is a world renowned surf spot?
As it turned out we had arrived at just the right time: The Final Heat! It was between surf icon Kelly Slater, with Nine World Championships under his belt, and Australian Bede Durbidge.
Spectators oohed and awed as Kelly Slater took it down for a grand prize of $105,000. All in a days work! Work!?
Wanna see some videos?
With the excitement waning, we turned around and hiked back on the beach. Walking southward from Trestles you can see the orbs of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.
Either nuclear leakage mutated some unfortunate sea life or that there's a Sea Slug.
Yep, it's a Sea Slug!
Back at camp we found the rest of our crew chillin' out having a good time.
With the exception of a rock bite. Did I tell you San Onofre is a very rocky beach?
San Onofre is a very rocky beach.
Our neighbors were busy preparing their dinner: smoked turkey. Show-offs! At least they were nice enough to share some with us... it was delicious btw.
Sunset is a nightly celebration when you are beach camping.
And we'll end this day's enjoyment with the obligatory campfire!
Another Most Excellent Hike!