Driving can certainly become a bore. Especially after you have been driving for the past three weeks cross country, listening to repeats of your favorite songs and watching the white lines on the road slowly go on by. But once Marco and I left San Francisco, and jumped on scenic Highway 1 making our way down the coast line, we found ourselves driving way below speed limit to admire the views.
The highway is situated on the cliffs of central California with views of the endless Pacific Ocean on one side, and redwood forests on the other. At times you see jagged dark rocks plunging into the depths of the sea. You stop and stare at beautiful architectural bridges built in the 1900s. You take in fresh yet dewy smells of the redwood and eucalyptus trees. You drive through fog covered mountain peaks as the sun eerily and slowly tries to seep through the clouds. You think to yourself 'I hope this magical ride never ends'.
We made our way from San Francisco and through Monterrey Bay, making a quick stop at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium and hanging with the otters for a bit, and then down to Big Sur. We had no reservations for camping, and everything seemed to be full, but to our luck we found a great spot situated among the redwoods and right on the edge by the Pacific water. We pitched our tent and set up camp and settled in for the first night. The next morning we woke up early and spent the day hiking through the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Our first trail took us through the redwood and oak forests, crossing small creeks, climbing under and over the huge tree roots, and hiking up the granite cliffs to see incredible panoramic views of the rugged coastline. The second trail lead us closer to the sea, to McWay Falls; an 80-foot waterfall that drops from the cliffs into the ocean. On our way to a small view point we noticed the words in huge letters 'MICHAEL JACKSON' written on the restricted beach below us. We laughed yet wondered how those words were written 9 stories below us. As we admired the views and watched the waves crash upon the rocks, we noticed a fire rescue team asking us to evacuate the area. Making our slow trek back up we realized there was an emergency rescue going on. Apparently the couple who decided to trespass down the cliffs on to the enclosed and private beach, confessing their love for MJ, was now stuck. The rescue team was gathered at the top throwing down rope and sending down rescue rangers to bring the young couple back and of course issuing a hefty fine for their stupidity. Now thats what I call love for Michael.
As the evening drew near we headed back to our campground and began our grilling ritual by the fire. We enjoyed our dinner and some beers as we watched the sun set beyond the infinite ocean in front of us, and then settled in our tent early as the crashing waves lulled us to sleep. The next morning we continued our way down from Big Sur to Cambria, staying for the next three days with some good family friends.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK
After three wonderful days enjoying time with our friends, eating, chatting, and drinking our way through the Pasa Robles wine country, we were off to another national park: Sequoia. We were really looking forward to camping among giant sequoia trees, but upon our arrival we realized it was not what we had expected. The park was very well organized and beautiful scenery surrounded us, but our imagination had led us on and the sequoia's were small compared to the redwoods we had seen along the California coast. Although we did get a chance to see the largest tree in the world (by volume) and that in itself was truly magnificent. We decided to keep moving on since the day was still young, making our way closer to Death Valley. Finally!