California Highway 1, Big Sur State Park, McWay Waterfall

Hwy 1-9

Today was my planned lazy day. Turned out I did about 250 miles of driving and 4 miles of hiking. I guess the driving may have been lazy, and it was easy hiking, but it all still tired me out.

After dropping my son off at his photography workshop, I headed southwest to the coastline and California Highway 1 (I think it is called the Cabrillo Highway here, not the Pacific Coast Highway, though the latter term does seem to get used as well). I did not know it at the time, but it was my lucky day as I experienced lots of blue skies and no fog. I wish I would have had the good camera gear, but I did get some decent shots handholding the old Nikon D50.

I made it to the cost south of Monterey a lot faster than I thought I would (which would NOT be a foreshadow of my drive home!). Like the rest of my fellow tourist throng, I drove from vista to vista, pulling over whenever something caught my eye, or when the number of cars parked by the road made me feel like I should follow the herd to see what was there.

Hwy 1-9    Hwy 1-12   Hwy 1-17

Once I got to Big Sur State Park, I stopped to take a look around. Once again, I broke with the trend and actually parked inside the park and paid my fee (hey, someone has o pay to keep the place open!). I was on a tight schedule, as I was hoping to see a lot of the coast before rushing back to pick up my son. I chose to hike the Pfeiffer Falls and Valley View trails, maybe totaling 3 miles, but a nice hike nonetheless. Turns out that not all California parks are deserted, as this one, as well as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (which I would stop at later) and Big Basin State Park (the next day) were crawling with people (many, many of which speaking various European languages).

Had a nice hike through Big Sur, and was quite happy to see the river with a decent amount of water in it (everything else in prior days had been pretty much dry). The hike back to the waterfall was great, as was the hike to the valley. It sure is great getting out ad hiking everyday! I gotta figure out how to get more hiking motivation at home!

Big Sur State Park-1   Big Sur State Park-7   Big Sur State Park-14

I moved on along the coast, again stopping wherever the urge struck, eventually finding myself at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and the top of the McWay Waterfall trail. This is a nice, short hike down the side of the cliff to a viewing area for the falls. It was a beautiful day with lots of blue sky, and the water near the falls was an amazing shade of turquoise. I snapped off lots of pictures and wound up with a couple I liked a lot.

Hwy 1-35    Hwy 1-26

McWay Waterfall Trail-7    McWay Waterfall Trail-9

I then moved on along the coast, with the goal of making it to Lucia before I turned around. Turns out that Lucia, as far as you can tell from the road, consists only of the Lucia Lodge, at which I sat outside and had a great lunch while looking out to sea. Lunch was great, but it took more time than I planned, and I needed to be heading back to Campbell. The drive back alternated between fun (at least as much as you can have diving curvy roads in an anemic Dodge Avenger rental car!) and frustrating, as a herd of convertible Mustangs seemed to make it was onto the road, all insisting on doing about 35 (the speed limit and the fun threshold was 55). Made it back to Monteray hoping for a repeat of the quick commute between there and Campbell, but instead found an endless traffic jam most of the way back. I returned about 45 minutes late, but Hayden was still hard at work processing images so all was good. We headed out for a meal at a nice Italian restaurant in downtown Campbell, and called it a day. Another great day all in all.

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