61-Week Challenge (Week 2)

By Shannon Gurnee
In California
November 16, 2013

Grover Beach Boardwalk/ Monarch Butterfly Grove

Grover Beach Boardwalk

Let me start off this week by saying that I love California and it’s weather!  I’m watching the news and hearing about the cold snaps and snow that’s occurring all over the US right now.  And I’m sorry to say (wait, no I’m not) it’s been about 76 degrees this last week. It’s week 2 of my challenge, and I’m still motivated even though my girlfriend had to bail to take care of her sick kid. (I give thanks that my children have a very healthy immune system, and I pray that it continues.)

Grover Beach Boardwalk

I wanted to do a shorter and local trip this week since I had several appointments scattered throughout my schedule.  I know I spoke about possibly doing Bishop’s Peak, but I’ve heard we’d need 3-5 hours for that trip.  Plus I want to save that for when I have friends joining me.

Grover Beach Boardwalk


I decided on running on the Grover Beach Boardwalk and taking it to the Pismo Beach Pier and finishing with a mile+ long beach run.  Not all hikes will be monstrous, but when they are flat it allows me to get some trail runs in.  This route used to be part of my training for the half marathon last year but I would start in Arroyo Grande at my gym (that run was over 7 miles).

Grover Beach

It was such a beautiful day and along the way I went into the Monarch Butterfly Grove where thousands of Monarchs were fluttering around. This route is completely kid/ stroller friendly (but not dog or horse).

Monarch Butterfly Grove

Can you see the butterflies on the tree?

Monarch Butterfly Grove

See the butterflies now?

Monarch Butterfly Grove

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is an absolute MUST SEE!  This very small area is host to thousands of Monarchs annually.  It is one of the most populated groves in the US.  As I walked through the trees I was almost pelted by these beautiful creatures.  It’s truly unreal!  I’m been here before with and without my kids, but I have never seen it like this.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

Those are all butterflies, not birds!

The “Butterfly Trees” of Pismo Beach are one of our most beloved attractions From late October through February, thousands of colorful Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of Eucalyptus and Monterey Pines in the area, giving the appearance of yellow and orange leaves. They travel over the Sierra Mountains and west of the Rockies. Some come from as far away as Canada to escape the colder temperatures of the north… Pismo State Beach hosts one of the largest over wintering congregations, varying in numbers from 20,000 to 200,000.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

Monarch Butterfly Grove

On my way from the Grove to the Pier I encountered some wildlife.   These birds let me get within 2 feet of them.  Man, they are so beautiful! Once I reached the pier I took a few moments to soak in the beauty, then I hit the sand.



Pismo Beach Pier

Can I just tell you I must have passed up 20+ perfect sand dollars?!?  I brought home 6 and gave them out to my kids and 2 of their friends that came over for a play date and kept the other 2 for myself.

Pismo Beach

Oh, did I tell you that on a section you can drive on the beach?  We have magnificent sand dunes where you can go with your vehicles & ATVs.  But I can save that for another story…

Grover Beach

My thoughts:

Difficulty:  1 (out of 10)

Beauty: 8 (out of 10)

Distance:  3.77 Miles

Pace:  11:13 min/mi

Max Elevation:  66’

Gain:  43

Time: 42:22

Burned:  383 calories

Worth It?  Absolutely! (On a clear day)

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)



About Has 2236 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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