Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Take a Long Drive with Me on California One

This past weekend, some of my girlfriends and I escaped to the wilderness of Big Sur for a mini getaway.  Robert Louise Stevenson once described the Big Sur coastline as being "the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world."  As far as I'm concerned, the man was spot on; breathtaking beauty lies around every bend of the very bendy Highway One.  Most of the car ride was spent in silence as we stared, mouths agape in awe, at nature's sublime handiwork.

We departed at 3am, knowing that because reservations had not been made for a campsite, our best bet was arriving early and snagging one just as the previous inhabitants began to bust a move.  We got very lucky, scoring a prime spot at the Limekiln Campground, about two miles south of Lucia.  Upon unpacking, we stared at the heap of canvas, tarps, and metal poles lying in front of us like a group of confused puppies.  Using both the rapidly increasing hoards of flies and promised sangria as incentive, we quickly defied any "how many girls does it take" jokes by setting up camp (tent included) in about half an hour.  Our campground offered access to both the mountains and the beach, so we promptly explored our liminal space, drinks in hand.

Our own personal babbling brook!

If you're in the area and feel like stretching your legs, please, please do yourself a favor and hike the Ridge Trail.  It's an 8 mile loop trail that leads you through redwood forests, oceanside bluffs, and beaches.  The trail-head begins and ends in the Andrew Molera State Park. Trail maps are sold for a dollar in the main entrance kiosk and are definitely worth the investment. 

This arch was tricky to find because the turn off from Highway 1 isn't marked.  If you want to check it out yourself, you will need to turn onto the only unmarked, paved road between Pfeiffer State Park and the Big Sur Post Office.  Worth the extra mile or two, especially if you arrive in time for the sunset.

If you have the urge to see some wildlife in its natural habitat, make a stop to see the elephant seals of Piedras Blancas, located just north of Hearst Castle and San Simeon. They look terrifying, but are actually rather entertaining!

If camping isn't your thing, there are quite a few bed and breakfasts and resorts along the coast that have your name on them; I've heard really good things about The Post Ranch Inn and Ventana Inn and Spa. Go ahead--you deserve it!

Oh! Just one tip: Don't plan on buying beer or groceries in Big Sur.  This was our first mistake, as 6-packs were selling for $15!!

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