Picks and Pans – Big Sur, CA

Big Sur Station

Big Sur Station should be the first stop for anyone heading into Big Sur. The ranger station has information on all the surrounding state parks and the Los Padres National Forest that borders Big Sur. We were lucky enough to stop in when Ranger Bob was manning the desk. A 9 year veteran of Big Sur station, Bob was extremely helpful and, as it turns out, a former resident of North San Juan. Needless to say, we got quite the inside scoop.

Showers at Riverside Campground

Longest $1 shower ever. I turned it off before the hot water ran out. It will probably never happen again. It was amazing.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

I was entranced by this place. We walked out on the cliffs above the sea to find that, not only was there a beautifully pristine beach in the cove below us, but there was a waterfall cascading off the cliff and onto the sand. To add to the mystery and allure, there are remnants of a stone house at the end of one of the trails, just tempting me to imagine what waking up in such a place every morning could do to my disposition. Also, upon a more thorough exploration of the park we found a couple of very well hidden campsites that may very well be the best place to camp on the whole Pacific coast. I dare you to find them. You’ll go weak in the knees when you see it.

Nacimiento Road

Thanks to Ranger Bob’s sage advice, we headed up Nacimiento Road to look for our campsite for the night. He had told us that it was one of the best places in Big Sur, but I was still not prepared for what we found. Winding up the very narrow road, we kept getting glimpses of the Pacific and our anticipation of an amazing sunset was building. We ended up stopping out on a point to watch the sun sink into its own fiery glory before continuing on to our campsite on Prewitt Ridge, where we had a panoramic view of the ocean before us and the mountain range stretching out behind us. We watched the moon set, the shooting stars sparkle across the tips of the mountain peaks and a sailboat cross the milky reflection of the moon before it set into the inky ocean. We would have been dancing with joy if we weren’t so paralyzed by the beauty. The next morning, Sean saw the sunrise before the fog enveloped us. Following the possibility of adventure, we decided to drive the Nacimiento Road further into the mountains. Turns out, it took us over a pass, back down the other side and eventually through a military training ground before dropping us back in the Salinas Valley.

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