John Vonderlin: New Coastal Trail at Cowell Beach A Beauty

Story by John Vonderlin
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Hi June,
A while ago I sent a posting to you about an adventure Meg and I had exploring “Secret Beach, a ways south of the Ritz Carlton.”  The highlight of that trip was clambering over and photographing Purisima Falls, where it drops into the Pacific. Not long after that I related that there were big plans for a blufftop trail from Cowell Beach to south of the Falls. Well, yesterday we drove by and found that the project is close to being done.
At the north end of this soon-to-be-opened stretch of the Coastal Trail, there is a path, though “road” might be a more accurate description, winding along the blufftops, south from the Cowell Beach access viewpoint.
At the southern end of the trail, across from the Bob’s produce building on Highway 1, there is a new parking lot, a new bathroom, and a path/road leading straight west to an overlook on the blufftop, just south of Purisima Falls.
Workers were still busy with various details along the path, so we decided not to get a “Sneak Preview,” but I did photograph the stunning Cowell Beach area. While I’m a little sad that such a hard-to-reach, and stunning stretch of our coast, which we considered “our little secret,” will now become accessible to hordes of people, I’m also delighted that it’s happening. I predict this new stretch will vault to near the top of list of places you’ll want to recommend to your friends who come to visit from out of town.
After surveying the ongoing work we walked down the newly-repaired stairs from the Viewpoint to Cowell Beach.
There I photographed these two odd chunks of metal, seemingly deliberately placed there as “works” of art.
I suspect there is an interesting story behind these mysterious relics ending up close together at the bottom of the stairs. Heavyweight artistic statement? Last remnants of a shipwreck, pulled from the sand or surf?
One appears to be a gearbox that was hooked up to a large motor. The other reminds me of the fixture on boats that allows multiple lines to be fastened to it. Maybe some kind of giant “cleat?” or “bollard?” As the son of a sailor, I probably should be embarrassed at my lack of the right term, but I’ll research it. Just a couple bits of oddness on a spectacular, quarter-moon-shaped, soft-sand beach, bounded by steep cliffs, and the cold, moody Pacific, with no other sign of civilization visible, but the stairs you climb. down.
I’m sure there will be a big opening ceremony fairly soon after the trail has been completed. I’ll be looking forward to using the path, thereafter. It should be interesting to see what kinds of photographs of the Falls start showing up online.  Enjoy. John
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