Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Sur and Point Lobos

It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get my trip reports together. The first part is deleting about 100 photos. This is the good / bad part of digital cameras. You can take tons of pictures to get the shot you like best, but then you have about half of them to discard.

We flew in to San Francisco on Saturday a couple of weeks ago. We picked up our obscenely cheap rental car (a Malibu for $120 total for 8 days from ghetto rentals, Wahoo!) and drove south to the Big Sur area. We took 101 for a while and then made our way over to Hwy 1. The drive down Hwy 1 is just fantastic. It has the great coastline views and a few cool landmarks like Bixby Creek Bridge.

For the first few nights, we stayed at the Big Sur Lodge in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Man, did we sleep great here. Nice big comfy beds and it had a great fan in the room for white noise. The park is quiet and thick with tall redwoods. From the lodge, there is a short and easy walking trail that leads to Pfeiffer Falls. There are also other trails that take you through all of the ginormous trees and gives you views of the valley.

The first place out of the park I wanted to go was McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It is located about 10 miles south of the lodge. It is a cool roadside waterfall that drops down to the beach and into the ocean. The regular trail was closed for repair until a week after we left, but this is the view we had from a scenic overlook. The views are best in the late afternoon and around sunset.

We spent all of our time outdoors hiking and site seeing. The temperature was cool with strong winds, but fortunately sunny. I thought I packed for the weather, but after a chilly initial day my ears were getting too cold and I had to buy a hoodie. Now properly dressed, we did a nice hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that took us to the top of the shoreline hills. It was a strenuous hike, but gave us a great view of the area and a close encounter with a California condor. This is what we looked over while we had our picnic lunch.

The eating choices in Big Sur were much better than we were expecting but also more expensive. There are quite a few little restaurants and diners. I had one of the best meals of my life at Big Sur Roadhouse. It was a terrific butternut squash ravioli with toasted pumpkin seeds in some whatever sauce. Eating this kind of stuff is a huge step in my culinary advancement. I don't normally go for the fru-fru dishes, but this one was awesome. Stacie enjoyed a couple fine meals as well.

We attempted to tour the Point Sur Lighthouse that is on top of an old vocanic formation but it was way too cold and windy. The temp was between 30 and 40 with winds reaching 50 MPH. This 3 hour tour would have probably ended up a well as Gilligan's.

After spending a few days in Big Sur, we traveled back north to Carmel and stopped at one of our favorite places, Point Lobos State Reserve. It has been called "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world." At least 1/4 of the park's wonderful scenery is under water. We don't SCUBA so we'll have to take their word for it. For the land lubbers, it has great short hikes and you can see beatiful rugged landscape with cypresses and a wide variety of wildlife. This time of year you can see both harbor seals and sea otters with their babies. Stacie just absolutely loves sea otters. I'm talking, squeals like a little girl loves 'em. The best viewing place for them is Whaler's Cove. At Sea Lion Point, You can't help but hear sea lions on the rocks right off of the shore. They can be easily seen with low powered binoculars. We then hiked south to Bird Island and called it a day. If you are ever in the area, it is well worth spending at least 4 hours here.

Up next in chapter 2, Carmel and Sausalito.


At 9:10 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey Brian. This is a great primer before my own planned trip down the coast of CA in August. Wifey Kim and I don't hike much, but I want to take her on a hike somewhere. Any suggestions for an easy hike?

At 6:36 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

Oh my god - it's so pretty!


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