Tuesday, June 7

Big Sur Camping - California's Coastal Splendor


For many years I have heard the rumors of a small region of the central California coast, that boasts beautiful countryside like no other. In fact, I came to learn there are only three places in the world you can see such wonders, two of which are in California & the other in China.

Old Coast Rd.
Alas, the region of Big Sur, perched along California's famous highway 1, is the only area were such unique forest landscape collides with the dramatic Pacific coast line. The natural landscape is split into several different state parks that make of the Big Sur region along the coast.

Like I had said before, after so much talk in the past, it was time to make the journey. With my faithful co-pilot Georgette by my side we made the five & half hour drive from LA, up HWY101, over the Naciemento-Ferguson detour (which was most spectacular, no qualms there), dropping us down on HWY 1 just south of Lucia.

For the first time camper in the group, we opted for a more substantial shelter & reserved a half tent/half wood cabin for our stay. Only a bed & a small table inside though, can't be too nice. To get back to the natural camping state we did make campfire meals & endure the general chill of the night.

Big Sur State Park
On the first day we managed to traverse what turned out to be one of the most unique adventures we have ever had together. I had researched some scenic roads that lead through the back country & found that the Old Coast Rd. is one not to miss, say the insiders. They were sure right!! This 12 mile stretch of dirt road was the most beautiful, scenic, secluded, romp we could have asked for.

Old Coast Rd.
Taking us through the valleys & tall redwood forest, then back up to mountain peaks looking over the Pacific Ocean to one side & lush green forest valley to the other.

After a chilly first night, we woke early with the intention of completing 3 different hikes... and it happened! The first was a mild trip out to McWay Falls. A beautiful cliff side waterfall right off the side of the highway.

McWay Falls
Helpful hints! You can buy a $10 day pass to one park & use it for any one of the many parks along the coast, we went to three. At McWay Falls we were some of the first visitors in the park at 8am & we had it all to ourselves. Later in the day you can see cars spilling out onto the HWY trying to park here. Photo lover beware, sunsets are better due to morning shadows.

Click to Enlarge: You can see McWay Falls on the left falling into the ocean
We then moved on the hike number two, Pfeiffer Falls. A little strenuous mile and half hike in to a great double waterfall. We saw quite a few people on this hike due to it's shorter length. The falls a were a nice sheet of falling water, sliding down a sloped rock face.

Andrew Molera State Park
After a lunch & pit stop, we moved on to our long hike of the day to the beach. This hike proved to be one of the most challenging. After a couple conversations with people about how beautiful the destination is, most fail to mention the 25 foot river crossing with no dry route.

Andrew Molera State Park
Once passed this, the hike will took us through huge grassy fields with more bird songs in the air than one could count. The view all around is of the rolling hills & the forest meeting the flat bluffed coast. At the shore we sat & enjoyed the view, plus the howling offshore wind for the surfers, but no one was out.

Andrew Molera State Park
We made our way from the sand up along the bluff above the ocean for more than forty five minutes. We stopped, picked a good scenic place to sit & enjoyed mother nature's splendor.

Andrew Molera State Park
On our last day we packed up our site, said good-bye to the two blue jays that hounded our campsite & headed out early. I stopped along the HWY for a couple last photos & a quick trip around another campground for ideas of another visit.

Georgette & I were up for one more hike before we had to site in the car all day so we planned to stop & do the Mill Creek Trail that was right at the head of the Naciemento-Ferguson road. This trail on the south end of the park proved to me a bit less maintained, to say the least. About a mile in it was decided we should enjoy the view around, but make our way slowly back to the car.

Mill Creek Trail

"You don't take a photograph, you make it."
-Ansel Adams


Eric said...

What camera/lenses you got going? I need to get some lenses...all I got so far is the kit lens for my Digital Rebel Xsi

Lights & Sound / JDB said...

Whats up Eric. Thanks for checking out the blog and the photos. I to am still using the Nikon stock lenses that came with mine. a 18-55m and a 70-200mm zoom. The trick to the good photos is to shoot RAW images from the get go & I edit them in Adobe Lightroom 3. Watch a few tutorials on youtube and did some research and kinda self taught photo editing. Seriously worth the afternoon of education. Hope all is well. Got some more coming soon from two more camping trips I went on last week.

Eric said...

Yeah I think the biggest thing I need is some photo editing software. I could def use at least a decent telephoto lens though.