Friday, June 3, 2011

Long weekend at Big Sur, CA

May 27:  After the day’s work, we started to Big Sur from Svale on Friday evening. Big Sur is located along the Scenic Highway One on the coast of central California, a 90 mile stretch between San Luis Obispo and Monterey. The “el país grande del sur" (the big country of the south) is said to offer the greatest meeting of land and sea.
The traffic was slow initially but the lineups had eased off soon. The first sight of the pacific and Bixby bridge were spectacular and we reached Pfeiffer Big Sur State park by dusk. We had booked a cottage with a full kitchen at Big Sur Lodge, which was expensive as expected for the holiday season but decent except for no Wi-Fi.
May 28: Morning, it felt good after a short hike between redwoods to Pfeiffer falls and Valley view. It was a 2-mile roundtrip that leads to beautiful views of Point Sur and the Big Sur Valley. Then we drove south on Hwy 1 to Hearst castle stopping by vista points. With the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and the rocky pacific coast on either sides, the views beat the former and only got better each time. The Big Creek bridge, patches of wild flowers brightening the grassy hillsides, pinnipeds, California Condors were added attraction. Enjoyed lunch at a view point as we saw bikers pass by and headed back as  Hwy 1 was closed near Gorda. 
We spent the afternoon at Lime Kiln Creek state park. The small beach area was directly under the bridge and easily accessible. It was entertaining to see few ‘expert’ people filleting the fish and lot of seagulls and pelicans around as limekiln creek flows into the ocean. 
The McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park was one of the best ways to experience the dramatic meeting of the land and sea. However the falls and beach are off limits. Weather was perfect all day and it started raining in the evening. We had dinner watching the rain and played Antakshari until we fell asleep.
May 29: Time for Point Sur light Station…the access to this historic lighthouse is provided only through Guided tour on weekends in limited numbers!! I had to work unfortunately, so the rest made it to the 10am tour. It was for 3 hrs which according to them was a little strict and a little too long :P It seems it was very windy and loud sounds of the pinnipeds added to the gusting wind. They were enjoying the great views while I was working my fingers to the bones at Fernwood Grill restaurant (for Wi-Fi) all morning J
After lunch at River Inn Restaurant in Big Sur, we drove to Andrew Molera State Park. A wide, scenic, mile-long flat path took us through a meadow to the sandy/pebble Molera’s beach and the best part was crossing the Big Sur river just before it enters the Sea.
May 30: Started the day with a 5 mile hike on Buzzards Roost trail peaking at Pfeiffer Ridge with beautiful coastal panoramic view. Then we drove to Big Sur’s most popular Pfeiffer beach. There were signs of private properties all along the 2-mile narrow road (How lucky are these people being able to live so close to nature, wish I do!) This was one of the most beautiful beaches without doubt and the fierce waves hitting the rocks just left an imprint in my mind.

At noon, we had lunch at a picnic area in Point Lobos State Reserve and took a beach trail. The bright lupines, wild iris, California poppies and other native wild flowers along the trail felt like a garden carefully grown for years. The scene of a mother seal and pup trying to climb onto the rock and slipping back into the water with tides was fascinating. We saw Sea lions and Seals in huge numbers hauling out on the rocks close to the beach and California Sea Otters sleeping leisurely wrapped in the kelps. The nesting birds, colorful crabs, foam and shades of sea.. mesmerized by the life in its bounty, we drove back home. This time not so lucky, caught up in the long weekend traffic on 101 for quite some time and it was huge relief to be back home!

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