Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Road Trip to Big Sur

After a few days in San Francisco we were ready to hit the road again - this time headed south on Route 1. San Francisco to Big Sur is about a three hour drive down the coast but if you are traveling with two excitable photographers it is closer to 5. We packed more sandwiches which we would leave in the car too long and consume with fervent prayers of "don't you give me food poisoning, car sammy!" Pang read signs to me and squealed over the scenery. At this point we had road tripping down to a science. 

The scrubby flowers, sloping mountains and craggy cliffs are amazingly beautiful and exotic compared to the lowland marsh coast I grew up in. 

In Santa Cruz, not having learned our lesson with the lighthouse, we again decided to follow a sign pointing us in the direction of beauty. We followed signs for the beach, eager to get down off the cliff and into the surf for a few minutes. Turning off Route 1 there is a downhill narrow road that leads to  the beach past makeshift houses and barbed wire fields of grass.
The parking lot was full of families pulling out beach chairs and sand buckets and we grumbled about forgetting our bathing suits. A sandy path lead us through the cliffs and we broke out onto the expansive beach. The tide was low and the rock formations stood out against the blue sky perfectly. 
Without meaning to we had come to Natural Bridges State Park. From October to February this park is home to the migrating Monarchs. The wind on the beach was intense and the sand whipped at your skin. Beach goers had retreated from the froth back into the nooks of the cliff to hide from the rash of particles flying through the sky and I followed suit while Pang skipped around taking pictures of the bridges. 

Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz

Then finally we made it to Big Sur. If you park on the side of the road along Route 1 you can scramble down the side of the cliff on a path to see McWay Falls which is actually part of Julia Pfieffer State Park. Sadly, a late morning start, several stops and two tired girls later - we didn't even go into the main park of Big Sur for a hike. But to be honest, I like leaving adventures unfulfilled on trips - gives me a reason to come back.

McWay Falls, Big Sur

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