Big Sur

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We continued north along the increasingly treacherous and amazingly gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway. Fog over the Pacific from Route 1 California Fog on Windy Route 1 over looking the Pacific California Rocky coast & Pacific at Big Sur, California I have wanted to go to Big Sur since I was 11 or 12. I don’t remember how I learned about it—TV or a movie I suppose—but for 20 years I’ve always dreamed of sitting on the beach below the  dramatic rocky cliffs and listening to the crash of the waves. Big Sur view of the Pacific from Route 1 California Julia Pfeiffer Burns beach & waterfall in Big Sur, California Rocky pacific coast in California in the morning from Big Sur We didn’t have a reservation, but we planned to camp at one of the state campgrounds along California Route 1. We passed two early in the day but kept driving to the town of Big Sur, where the largest campground—Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park—is. We drove through the dark, wooded, crowded campsites and were really disappointed. I had my heart set on the iconic Big Sur panorama but you couldn’t even reach the ocean from here and instead of the soothing crash of the waves, I’d be listening to the buzz of mosquitoes. We left and tried Alfred Molina State Park about a mile north, but it was only for primitive tent camping (and we don’t have a tent). Horses on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean Rocky pacific coast in California in the morning from Big Sur The sun was beginning to set and we were 45 minutes north of the two other campgrounds. I was so disheartened and mad at myself for my poor planning. Route 1 was dangerous during the day, so we did not want to be driving it at night. But I also wasn’t going to camp in the woods if there was an opportunity to camp on the beach. So against all prudence and without a guarantee that a campsite would even be available, we headed back south hoping for the best. As we drove, we watched the sunset over the ocean and the road get darker and finally we arrived at Lime Kiln State Park. Sun beginning to set Rocky coast & Pacific at Big Sur, California We drove down the entranceway and to the campsites, there were a few people around, but it was quiet and uncrowded. We chose the campsite closest to the beach with an amazing ocean view. Campsite at Lime Kiln State Park, California Big Sur It was breathtaking; this was the spot right out of my fantasies. We walked the 100 yards to the ocean and watched the sunset. Sunset over Pacific Big Sur, California  Sunset over Pacific Big Sur, California   Sunset over Pacific Big Sur, California The surf was loud and in my mind I heard the movie theme music swell. It was so peaceful and iconic and time stood still; I stood still and took it all in. In the scheme of life where we camped that night didn’t really matter; it would’ve been easier to just stay at the wooded campground and I wouldn’t have suffered for it. But I realized that, like everything in life, sometimes it’s the little extra effort that makes the most difference. Sunset over Pacific Big Sur, California Very end of Sunset over Pacific Big Sur, California After the sunset we ate dinner and Pearson tried in vain to start a fire in the fire pit (the mist from the ocean made all of the wood too wet). So we went back to the beach and gazed up at the crescent moon and the stars and listened to the surf and drank tequila with a juicy, flavorful lime that we picked earlier in the week in wine country. Stars over the pacific in Big Sur, California Sometimes a place is unforgettable because it’s iconic and so long pined for; sometimes it’s the simple moments that leave a big impression; sometimes it’s the crazy story that makes an event memorable; and on rare occasions all three of these come together to make a day extraordinary. Moonrise over the Pacific from Big Sur, California After a night lulled to sleep by the sounds of the surf, we watched the sunrise and a new day begin. early morning on the beach in Big Sur, California early morning on the beach in Big Sur, California Click here to buy prints from this post
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  1. By San Francisco, California | Into Our Element on January 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    […] continued up the Pacific Coast Highway heading for San […]