Day 32: Full Circle

“It’s finally hit me.  My last night.  It’s a cool night here in El Capitan State Beach as I sit with my windows open, the sound of the ocean playing softly in my ears. I’m anxious to get home yet not at all ready at the same time.” – October 22, 2017, 9:22pm, El Capitan State Beach.


I woke up in my campground in Avila ready to roll.  I knew this would be my last full day on the road and I wanted to make the most of it.  I had one item I had missed on the way up and that was the Chumash Painted Caves.  I took the 101 south from Avila and eventually found myself in the mountains above Santa Barbara.  I passed Chumash Lake Recreation Center and made a mental note to look it up later.  I kept driving down the highway until it began climbing the mountains around Santa Barbara. Eventually I saw cars parked on the side of the road and figured I was in the right spot.  The caves were a little disappointing in that metal bars and fencing were put up around the actual caves and paintings to prevent people from getting too close.  Despite this, I was able to snap a good pic (above) and I still left in awe.  The scenery around the caves was stunning and I found it amazing that the Chumash made it their home.

From the caves it was only a short drive down to El Capitan State Beach.  This was the place I stayed at on my very first night out.  For me, staying here again offered an incredible perspective and brought everything full circle.  I got to my campground and gave myself a couple minutes to think and remember what it was like that first night of my trip.  I thought about the kind of person I was and the feelings I had.  I remember being scared and unsure but excited.  Now, at the end, I felt scared and unsure again but for different reasons.  I had enjoyed every moment of this journey, living life to the fullest and not thinking about the future or the repercussions.  On the precipice of my return, I began to feel nervous for what would come.  Yet, just as I left for the road trip and conquered it, I knew I could do the same with the next phase of my life.

I set up camp and decided to take the day reading and sitting by the beach.  Ironically, it was a hot, sunny day as compared to the last time I was here at the end of summer when it was freezing cold.  I climbed a few rocks and eventually found my own private beach.

Perched below the rocks which offered a sliver of shade, I took a nice long nap.  It was calm and peaceful down on the beach and I was able to relax and enjoy my last day.  I stayed down there for a couple hours before I saw the sun beginning to set and I made my way back towards the campgrounds.

IMG_2743Before I got to my assigned campsite, I saw a nice little spot right on the edge of the cliff.  It had a view of the ocean in front of me and the sunset slightly to my right.  It even had a small log for me to sit on.  So I continued to live life in the moment and I settled down on my perch above the water and watched the last sunset I would see on this trip…IMG_2742IMG_2746IMG_2750

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