Day 29: el sur grande

I had to document this moment. I’m sitting looking out at McWay Falls and the impossible coastline around me.  The great expanse of the California wilderness is a wonder to behold. I sit in awe at the impassable labyrinth of trees, rocks, and cliffs that dot this wondrous part of the California coastline. In this moment, I realize how small I am compared to the totality of nature and the way it controls out lives.  I can only imagine how terrified and in awe the first explorers must have been to see this coastline and realize they had to dock somewhere along it. It’s breathtaking. – October 19, 2017, 10:10am, Julia Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur

A brief journey through McWay Falls…

a portal to the other side…
leads to a trail carved into the mountain…
alcoves and lagoons loom around corners…
first you look to your right….
and finally to the falls on your left…
McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Today marked almost a full month since I had left Santa Ana. I was 40 miles deep into Big Sur and I was feeling great.  My spirits were high, my decisions were thought-out executed and everything was going as smoothly as I ever could have hoped.  I decided to stay the extra night in my Big Sur campsite partly to see more of this area but also because I couldn’t tear myself away. The trip to McWay falls that morning set everything off on the right foot.  I was calm and relaxed after I had meditated and wrote in my journal near the falls and now I was truly ready to explore.  The falls were a couple miles down from my campsite so I had to drive.  When you drive through Big Sur though, there are numerous places to pull over and observe the scenery so that’s what I did for most of my day.

For most of the drive, the 1 highway wound along the cliffside, hundreds of feet up from the water.  Eventually though, the highway leveled out into a flatland and I saw a little unmarked beach.

After climbing over a structure of rocks, I stumbled on a truly remarkable scene:


These unplanned sites were some of the most beautiful places I’d seen.  However, I was about to find my original inspiration and muse for coming to Big Sur….

Bixby Creek Bridge

When I was in elementary school I remember seeing that bridge in textbooks and wanting to see it in person and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  The huge structure spans across an impossible chasm with a floor of water thundering below.  It sneaks up on you as the 1 curves inward going North to South and suddenly it’s in front of you as you round the bend.

Slowly, I made my way back to my campsite.  There was one more hike of a note for me to do around the area and it was possibly the most beautiful one I had been on in the whole 29 days of this trip. It was called the Valley View Hike.

It started near the river…
following the current…
eventually you need to cross…
one way…
or the other…
the forest thickens…
but you climb higher and higher…
until you reach the top.

I am back at Pfeiffer State Park for night two.  I went on the Valley View Hike which had a view of the entire Big Sur valley. You could see a patch of the ocean and even the lighthouse that I passed on my way in. I am exhausted from all the hiking and sightseeing today but it’s a good feeling.  I’m feeling good writing in my journal by the fire with the stars and moon shining bright above me. – October 19, 2017, 6:03pm, Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur

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