It felt like we had been hiking forever when I finally saw it; the most beautiful beach I had ever seen. I was in Monterey, California in June 2007 with my sister visiting my mother’s side of the family. My Aunt Anne declared she wanted to take us to China Beach, totally different from the typical California beaches. Even though I did not know what to expect, I was excited for the adventure. She told all of us going on the trip to wear tennis shoes. “Who wears tennis shoes on the beach, Anne?” I questioned. She told me I would be thankful when the day was over, so without complaining I slipped into my lime green and white gym shoes and we were off; all eleven of us.
The temperature was perfect as we piled out of the SUV. Anne and Sarah (my two aunts) instructed Erin and I to unload our seven cousins from their car seats, as they assembled strollers and gathered our packed lunches. This is going to be interesting I thought as I was holding the hand of one cousin, with a baby in my other arm. I was on a constant look out for run-away children, listening for screams as one fell flat on their face, and continuously counting seven heads in front of me as we began walk to walk. The path was narrow, with red wood trees on the left, and an extremely high cliff on the right. The only thing attempting to prevent someone from falling into the Pacific Ocean was one thin wire about three feet off the ground. I was terrified every time the kids would get too close looking over the edge. We were up so high; I wondered how would we ever get to the beach.
Finally, I saw the steps. Aged planks of wood followed each other one by one all the way down the pearly white sand. The steps felt like they were going to crack beneath by feet and I would fall down the cliff. They were uneven and rigid as we marched single file down them. We reached the bottom step, and I whipped off my shoes. The cold sand felt marvelous in between my toes. The beauty of China Beach shocked me. Not a single person was there; therefore we had the view all to ourselves. I could not believe the power the beach had, I felt like a completely different person when I looked out upon the water. It was so peaceful I could have stayed there forever. We explored caves on both sides of the cove, my sister went for a dip in the cold Pacific Ocean, and we built sand castles.
Not a cell in my body wanted to leave. I adored everything about China Beach, and I could not believe we were the only ones soaking up its beauty. I felt selfish almost, knowing I had it all to myself. The walk back was treacherous. I kept looking back at everything I was leaving behind, trying to capture a few more moments of perfection in my brain. The rest of my day was complete because of my trip to China Beach. I will never forget the time I spent there, and my whole trip to Monterey, California.
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