So on Tuesday August 19th, Cat, Monica, and I did a little excursion out to Big Sur, something I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see during my time here!
For those of you that like me, thought that Big Sur was a some kind of cross between a “big gentleman,” a cliff, and a surfer, Big Sur is a region of the central California coast, located roughly between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, “the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean” here, and make for it’s iconic coastal cliffs.
So Cat, Monica, and I rented a ZipCar…
We started to drive down at 7/8am, heading south on Highway 1, the magical Pacific Coast Highway that drags all the way down the Pacific Coast from the northern tip of Washington, down to my very own San Diego, California! As we sped along the winding road, little stops like this popped up:
We even stopped at the Big Sur Bakery, which had some pretty delicious, albeit pricey, baked goods (and supposedly sandwiches, though we did not partake).
|Inside the Big Sur Bakery.|
|Outside the Big Sur Bakery – almost missed it!|
I noodled around and took some random pictures of fruit and flowers as we stretched our legs at the bakery:
And then we were off again! Although it was overcast, it was really beautiful to see the cliffs and tree tops disappear into the fog… It made it so much more magical. :)
We were driving along when we saw an awful lot of people stopped at one of the overlooks. So we decided to join the party and see what’s up… and we saw WHALES! :) Spouting, flipping, and everything! It was such an amazing thing to see, so close to the cliffs. For somebody who is faced with unavoidable, motion sickness induced vomiting anytime I am out on the waves for any time longer than 45 minutes, this was very special to me. :)
|And then a boat joined the party.|
|There was even a dude with a crazy intense lens, taking pictures of the whales!|
Our first real stop was Partington Cove, which is a great place to hike, explore, and wander around without dealing with hoards of people. It is unmarked along Highway 1, which means that many tourists pass it right over. But it is a really nice place to stop (and also apparently the breeding ground of the most nefarious species of poison oak known to man).
|Two of the paths that we would take.|
|Monica, dwarfed by the gigantic, towering trees!|
|And Cat, being thoughtful. :)|
|Trying to use those muscles I spent all winter building by snow shoveling!|
|I made a mistake with the shutter speed and this happened. :)|
|Cat calls this the Leonardo da Vinci Man Pose. Shall we say Vitruvian Woman?|
|Sea anemones in the tide pools!|
|And blurry little crabs that were getting crankier the closer I tried to shoot them. :3|
|Cat is just a natural model.|
|Paradise! The funny thing is you can’t get down to the beach – there are no paths that lead there, and every way you can think of is verboten by the very strict signs.. I am sure there is a way though!|
|We found the Californian drought version of Rafiki’s tree!! AHHHHHHH ZABENYA!!!!|
|Check out these acorns?!|
Anyway, so after that, we drove back the way we came, grabbed some food, and then went to the Refuge to experience their Hydro Thermal Cycle, which was highly recommended by one of Cat’s and Monica’s coworkers. Now this is one of those rare times where I post a photo that I haven’t taken, but this place was pure magic (check it out to the left!). The Hydro Thermal Cycle consisted of 10 – 15 minutes in a sauna or a steam room, followed by 10 – 60 seconds in either one snowflake level cold (Pacific Ocean cold) or two snowflake level cold (icy stream cold) water, followed by relaxation. Monica, Cat, and I tried all kinds of combinations of steam, sauna, hot tubs, warm tubs, zero gravity chairs, minus the two snowflake water (except for Cat and Monica who tried it for a second!). I was impressed! It was seriously one of the most relaxed I have ever felt. The last two cycles, sauna, one snowflake cold, and zero-gravity relaxation chairs was just mindbogglingly relaxing. I felt like I could conquer the world after that. And then, when we went out into the parking lot to leave, and we saw the most beautiful night sky I have ever seen. I saw a vague shadow fo the MILKY WAY! It was just incredible, and I am so happy that I can still remember the small and humble feeling it left with me.