Big Sur – Camping on the Central California Coast
Before we begin, let’s first dispense with the sad and terrible. My Canon 5D Mkii, along with various accessories and lenses, were stolen from my automobile early last week. I scrambled for a day or two around Sacramento, desperately searching for replacement equipment so I would still be able to bring you amazing photos and stories from China in the coming weeks. I think the whole thing was a sign. Some part of the universe trying to get my attention, to impart, if ever harshly, a strong message: “You have been neglecting your photography, and you can lose it.” The universe, as always, was right. In response, I armed myself with my new upgraded Mkiii, marched out to a secret campsite on the edge of a cliff in Big Sur and gave my shutter finger a good, strong weekend workout.
Three dirty hippies find themselves on a dark, narrow, windy road at 4am contemplating how to move a Toyota Camry from the trough to the crown of a steep, potholed, thickly dusted incline after three failed attempts. The longest haired one (and that’s saying a lot) suggests offhandedly that two of them sit on the hood for the last fifteen feet of the climb. Best bad idea ever. The car gains traction and the journey finally continues on down further one lane dirt roads along the edge of a cliff, too dark to see the beautiful view of a misty ocean spread out beneath us. We finally reach the campsite at some ungodly hour, accidentally waking up Rio and Brand (our two friendly guard dogs), and put our last ounces of energy to work setting up arrangements for three or so hours of much deserved rest.
At just about nine-o-clock AM, I arose to an electric sunrise. My camera wasn’t at hand yet, but I watched it from my high perch in a rainbow hammock. Another image reserved only for the memory bank. The birthday girls, Morgan and Kourtnii, awoke soon after, and Stephen cooked up a hearty breakfast, including fresh blueberry pancakes. The festivities began a bit early, but they did not stop us from enjoying at least a couple of leisurely hikes through the tall grass to the cliff edge during the day as well as a full group sunset viewing. As the sun sank slowly behind the fog-faded horizon, the spotted clouds in the evening sky turned to pink cotton candy, the perfect backdrop to the sleepy softened partiers and pink ukelele players standing beneath it. A campfire, dinner, and all-night party ensued until everyone, birthday girls and all, drifted away beneath the stars.
By the time we all awoke the clouds had disappeared, or so it seemed. Upon our departure, we found that in fact they had only sunk, settling themselves snugly upon the open sea. In fact, no water was visible at all. There was only a rolling mist which crawled along the waves and broke upon the toes of the mountain as they took a light morning dip in the cool waters of the Pacific. We stopped for a short serenade before descending into the fog and disappearing to the north, leaving the central coast behind for what one can only hope will be a very short period of time.
Happy Birthday to Kourtnii and Morgan,
and Happy Travels to you all.