Along the Gaviota coast there is a tunnel. Passing under the railroad tracks at a 30 degree angle, it exits along a seawall on a secluded beach. At high tide, waves batter the wall and powerfully reflect, converging with incoming waves to create 15 foot high pillars and sheets of spray. For an adventuresome group of Wilderness Youth Project Young Eagles (grades 3-5), this place is wild magic.
Mario began our day with a boyhood story about adventuring into tunnels in his homeland of Colombia. His story came with us in the van and brought us to the threshold of our own adventure. But as anyone who has crawled in tight dark places knows, you can only bring your own courage with you into the unknown. We had to leave Mario’s story behind as we summoned the will to scoot our way down into the dark, listening to the thundering crash of waves waiting for us at the exit.
After safely completing the journey, we regrouped where the seawall ended and a small beach had formed. The powerful waves rushed to greet us and pummel our feet with pebbles and rocks. On this day, the Pacific Ocean was alive with powerful wave energy, once again challenging its peaceful namesake. We decided to adventure down the length of the seawall, searching for the perfect spot to get totally drenched in spray. Of course, that perfect spot was always just up ahead. We followed the call, passing crabs and calmer pools over wave-racked concrete. A mud puddle!
With brackish mud lather we made our way back to the van. As we hiked up to the tracks atop the tunnel, a freight train passed us by. We returned the pass heading east, homeward unbound.