We are back to share our Big Sur trip with everyone! James and I are grabbing a bite to eat, I’m listening to my favorite new band The Buttertones, and we are in high spirits! Hope you are all enjoying your Saturday.
As you know, James and I go to Big Sur every winter to enjoy small crowds, amazing weather, and open access to the beauty of the coast. Interestingly, a bout of shitty weather (ok, rain) closed Highway 1 to *everyone* from Ragged Point to as far north as Carmel. With some divine intervention, or some amazing luck, James booked 1 of 2 campsites still open during the shut-down. PLASKET CREEK! We called the ranger station and were warned, “If you must get to Plasket, you can take a forest road. It is dangerous and we will not recommend you drive it.”
Well, we drove it. And it was a dangerous-insane-thank-God-we-are-alive kinda thing! Both James and I were anxious the entire time spent on that road because the rain had caused mudslides and there was a thick fog which blinded us about 15 feet in front. Every turn we took was blind. I’m not being hyperbolic; every turn was a risk.
This1 hour section at the end of our drive was really unfortunate but once we made it to camp, we decided it was entirely worth the risk. I forgot to mention that James just surprised me with a puppy 2 weeks before our trip. Barley was the newest part of this camp-team, and he was a natural. We definitely got the right dog for our lifestyle!
This blog entry is like a diary because I wrote it at camp. So without further ado, let’s get on with the trip!
(Disclaimer: For the pictures, we took them on a few different cameras. The lighting was harsh most days, and combined with expired film (which usually turns out nice), I think I’m happy that I brought a “back-up” camera. I’ve been tweaking my style a little bit, editing a tad in Lightroom, and having a lot of fun with film. But since I have Lightroom now, I am looking for DSLRs for everyday use to grow my skills… and to finally join modernity.)
Day 1: We have arrived! 7 hours of beautiful gray woods, 1 hour of a water ride, and 3 Yerba teas later… We are at camp!The Plaskett Creek staff is a couple who lives on the grounds. They’ve said James and I are the very first to arrive this weekend, and that they understand our experience driving here must have been scary. They are right…the anxiety is not giving me good vibes about this trip. Thankfully, the overseer expects sunny skies after today. Time for a huge beer and oh look…a cookie~~~
We’ve finally settled in to this misty forest campsite. I can hear the waves crashing just beyond the trees. No voices, no cars, all I hear are the birds and the clanking of Barley’s brand new harness. James must be playing with him.
I decided that while the rain sprinkles here that I might as well pull out my uke and get to pickin’. James is sitting outside, he seems pretty content and gave me a grand plan for this weekend. Sounds like we’re in for a treat! Now James has just gotten up to alert me of the sky, its changing colors! Its now purple and red, and the trees are dark so all to be seen is the sky. It is so beautiful, we both missed the sky today.
Tonight’s dinner: Crisp beer with a side of baked chicken.
Day 2: Finally! The sky is bumping with colors and bright light. We are in BIG SUR! Now it feels real. Last night, some critters came and grubbed on our food. I forgot to put something heavy on the cooler. But the beer is here and so are the eggs! We will be just fine without the baked chicken. James is making his killer coffee for me, and playing with the dog in such a way that I can’t stop watching. Two cute kids, I’ll say!
We have neighbors now. Surfer dudes with a Scooby-doo ride. Plaskett is such a nice campground! We literally are just a walk from the beach. I can see the water, I can hear the water, I think we got lucky. Not a single soul is on the 1. Its closed down, and only 9miles of road and beach are open right now. This is going to be hard to accept because James planned everything so perfectly, and now we have to create a new plan. That’s life, gotta go for the ride!
Whooo-hoo! New plan was a success. We just visited the most beautiful vista point overlooking Sand dollar beach. The rain water is rushing down all over the road and campgrounds, to the sea. But other than the mud, everything is dry and gorgeous! That eerie feeling of being the only 30 people in the city is still around, though. No cars or bars or lodges to visit – but I think we’re just fine without those things because we’ve nothing better to do but galavant and roam freely.
Day 3: Just finished our spam and eggs which was the most amazing thing ever created. We had new loud neighbors roll up, and saw some other new neighbors leave just after 8 hours – which I think is weird. Anyhoo, we are headed to Jade Cove and maybe the Jade will wash ashore and I can make some jewelry. I’m wearing my new flare bell bottoms. Big Sur is a hippy playground, one must dress for the occasion!
Back from Jade Cove. There was a cute couple there that is staying in the bougiest place. But, I want to visit it and see what all the fuss is about. Plus, I’m always hungry and they have a cafe with burgers! It is the only restaurant open on the 1 right now.
We are doing our best with coffee and trail mix. But I found a store in the nearby town, Gorda, which has a panaderia. I went in while James and Barley walked around the town and inside I met a nice woman. She asked if we were having a good time, and extended some tips on where we should go for a sunset. We told her we hadn’t seen any whales this time and she informed me that there had been no sightings for her town either, and that the people were concerned. She mentioned that by mid-January las ballenas are spotted every morning. The whales go south to Mexico during the cold months, and when the weather warms up, the whales head north to Alaska for food. The woman joked that the whales are scared to travel right now because of Trump’s exclusionary politics. We laughed out loud but I was sad inside because I started to think about the Esselen people of Big Sur, who were some of the first Natives to be coerced into the Spanish missionary project…and yet here we are in 2017 battling the very same issues of race and class culture.
Later: Right now we are going to eat lunch, change, and feed Barley-boo. He’s so crazy, but I think he’s also excited with all the funny smells in nature. James planned a nice walk to Sand Dollar beach again, only this time down to the water. Also, we keep running into the surfer dudes from camp at every hike we go on! They are super chill and nice. Gotta love the life on the 1! Right now its like living in a really small town, except we are totally stuck here.
Sand Dollar beach was a water-fall haven! The sand was all different colors and strange shapes. Barley met his match with two beautiful big dogs. We let them approach each other but Barley was screaming in fear. It took him some time to get used to the big boys, James and I pet the other dogs and eventually called Barley over. He will need to be a socialized dog. So we’ll see what happens with that… The walk down to Sand dollar is so cool! I want to do it again when I come back because it was just so fun and beautiful. I took a picture of James looking down at the pretty sand; it was a very “California” moment. Big Sur is a California icon, afterall. Tonight we will rejoice around the fire for another day well-spent! Tomorrow it is our goal that we will go to the bluffs over Jade Cove again, which has by far the most perfect spot to watch the sunset. Barley plays in the mud like a crazy-animal, but we will need to figure out a way to avoid the mud so we got a plan: Bring blankets, bring beer, bring film, and watch out for the green flash.
Day 4: “Sunset Day” was great! We did a whole lot, so I’m writing at night. Just after another mud-filled hike, the winds were about to take their toll on us but we found an huge boulder to get shelter. We picnick’ed and made the best out of the wind. I took pictures of Barley having the funniest face with his ears blowing back! I loved watching him scope it out though, he’s learning that way.
The sunset photo-op was sort of a success. I new the light was horrible for my expired 200 speed film, so I took some risks. James and I didn’t see anyone around to get a picture of us, so we took turns and you can tell one of us is better than the other *just kidding boo.* I said goodbye to this place and in the morning we will leave. I loved Jade Cove so much for the way the colors hit the coast on the south-west end. It was so majestic! James discovered that Barley was drinking beer which was pretty hilarious because…duh.
Our 3rd trip together (as a couple) to Big Sur was a game changer. But we handled the change pretty well, I’d say, and we did not have to sacrifice any iconic coastal experiences while we were here. I’ve been up here during the summer, and I really prefer the colder months. James agrees, and we would rather risk some funky weather than run into masses of people waiting in line to see one waterfall (when there are over 100 just up the coast). We weren’t surrounded by shoobies, all of the hikes were technical (no pavement, no trails), and we got to see several new spots. This is what we come for: real outside experiences with others who value the beauty of nature.
Some Iphone photos are below because it’s just so tempting to pull out a quick camera and shoot whats around you! I regret nothing! 🙂 hehehe. Thanks for reading friends and family.