One day, in February 2004, I decided to take a walk through the beach side of nearby Corona Del Mar. I began on Bayside Dr. where it meets Jamboree Rd./Marine Ave. which is also the entrance to Balboa Island. As I headed south on Bayside my ultimate destination was Inspiration Point.
This is an old story rescued from obscurity...
Passing fancy homes, and Yacht Clubs on the beach side of the street, and a cliff with condos, on my left, I made my way up a route that left sidewalk behind on its nearly 1 mile way to Bayside Dr. Park. At the park there is a stairway path up to where Goldenrod Ave. briefly becomes a Footbridge over Bayside, and continues west to Lookout Point which overlooks the eastside entrance to Newport Harbor, at Ocean Blvd...
The bridge was in full bloom with Goldenrod lining each side as I walked across.
From Lookout Point you can gaze across Newport Harbor to the community of Balboa, Newport Bay, the ocean, and far away Catalina Island, even, on a clear day like this day was.
The little park has a couple of water fountains, 9 park benches providing views spectacular views in different directions, and 3 stairways to take a person down from cliff side. For 25 cents a person can gaze through a telescope/binocular contraption to brings distannt places into closer view.
105 steps down the right side path brought me past a few fancy condos to a short stretch of beach and a street named Shell. 25 steps down the middle path brought me to 3 more benches with views of the beach west of the point. 118 steps down the left path brought me down to the parking lot of Corona Del Mar State Beach, where there are restrooms, park benches, and plenty of firepits, some rocky outcroppings on the shore, and a concrete path that leads out to the rocky East Jetty that heralds the entrance to the harbor.
I, of course, walked all the way out to the end of the Jetty, hopping from boulder to boulder, saying hello to the occasional seagul, and pelican that I encountered, and assuring myself that I was in complete control of my mental faculties when I decided to make the journey in the first place.
Once back on shore I walked south along the beach to the base of Inspiration Point where there is a long walkway up the side of the cliff to the top on Ocean. The point actually has a midlevel viewing point that I preferred because of its intimate connection with the cliff, and the rocky tide pools below.
At this midpoint there are 6 benches spread around the overlook, and the view was truly spectacular. It was awesome to look over the rail at the rocks and, with careful observation, notice 2 stone seals, a Mother, and her Pup, nestled among the rocks. I have no idea how long ago the figures were put there, but one has to admire the life-like craftmanship, and the effort it took to install the creatures there.
It was nearing 445pm, and I'd walked 2 1/2 miles since 3pm, so I decided to rest a while.
Sitting on a bench I gazed out to sea, and suddenly fully realized why this spot was called Inspiration Point.
I was staring across the ocean at the dark, craggy outline of Catalina Island, and the sun was about to set directly behind it in less than an hour. The clouds are wispy, and sparse, between the shore and the island, but thick and beginning to become a reddish-brown color behind the island and beyond to the horizon itself.
The sun appears to be perched in between the 2 groups of clouds as it lowers itself, and begins to disappear below the horizon.
Around me are an elderly Arab couple, several Latino teens walking a well behaved Pitbull pup, and a young latino couple with their arms around each other gazing out to sea.
And so we wait, and watch.... never looking directly AT the sun, but taking in the sunset none the less.
At 515pm the sun enters the clouds behind the island, becoming a large, hazy, yellow ball. And suddenly.... the ball is cut in half by a wide swath of cloud, for a few minutes, and all around is a reddish-brown color. The ball is cut 2 more times as it descends, extending the length of time of the wonderfully colorful view.
At 525pm the sky above the northern 3rd of the island, and to its north is a dark reddish-brown, as the sun has just a few minutes left in its daily visit. At 530pm, even though the sun is now gone from view, behind the island, the glow is still there, and I gaze, full on, at the island until it dies out 25 minutes later.
Everyone else is gone, and I am alone with my thoughts, and the sound of the pounding surf below.
In all my life I don't recall seeing, until now, Catalina, from tip to tip, without it being shrouded in fog. In the waning evening light, with its fading frame of reddish-brown it is truly an inspirational view, and I envy the people, in their condos on the cliffs, who see this almost every night.
And so, with about 10 minutes of light left, I continue up the hill to the top and Inspiration Point proper, with its own group of benches and a few people standing, and sitting around. The view is just as spectacular from here, but I'll take the other spot any day of the week.
If so inclined a person could walk down a concrete path at the end of Ocean Blvd., and find himself down on Little Corona Beach, but I turned left, and walked down Poppy Ave. 2 blocks under a full moon, past fancy custom built homes, to Pacific Coast Highway.
I had just spent the last 3 hours traveling 2.76 miles. I walked north on PCH, through the shopping district of Corona Del Mar, about a mile, to Macarthur Blvd., and caught the bus for the journey home.