John & Anne Wiley

2016/09/22

Beauty & Beast

The beauty of the Big Sur Coast greeted our Wednesday flight from SJC to SBA. But look at the mountains just above the coast and you see the ashen scars of the beast named the Soberanes Fire, still pumping smoke all over the lower half of CA. According to the LA Times it’s the most expensive firefighting effort in U.S. history, and it’s still going strong as you can see.

3767 The Soberanes Beast

3767 The Soberanes Beast

We decided to try the coast, since at takeoff from SJC it looked like the thickest smoke was over Salinas Valley. Bingo! Though both fuzzy with coastal humidity dotted by clinging clouds, and hazy with the lingering smoke that spews in one direction and then another, views like this at Point Sur were refreshing after so many smoky months.

3769 Hwy.1 Spared

3769 Hwy.1 Spared

Unlike prior Big Sur fires we didn’t notice any places where fire had reached the road, though it’s been closed sometimes for firefighter access. Traffic was relatively light, but plenty of people were touring this enchanted coast. Not far South another monster named the Chimney Fire got this close to the popular Hearst Castle.

3861 Hearst Castle Saved

3861 Hearst Castle Saved

That’s the “castle” at the bottom-left, and the red along that grassy ridge is where they stopped the flames. Thanks to valiant efforts by fire crews, there were able to save the landmark and we saw tour buses carrying visitors on the road from San Simeon. A few minutes later we started seeing thicker smoke from the Canyon Fire at VAFB, cloaking the feet of the Sisters range from Morro Bay to SLO.

3889 Shrouded Sisters

3889 Shrouded Sisters

We were happy that the plume had been knocked down so that we could fly in relatively clear air across the Santa Ynez range (peeking above the distant smoke) and glide into SBA and the gentle greeting of Our Town.

Advertisements

2015/10/02

Homeward

We paused the drive from Big Sur back to Tripp in SLO many times, and this is one of the more colorful spots nearing San Simeon.

0891 Big Sur Colors

0891 Big Sur Colors

Before long we were flying across the arid rolling hills of Santa Maria Valley where dancing water had once carved now parched dry creeks.

0958 Moist Memories

0958 Moist Memories

Soon we crested the mountains near familiar Lizard’s Mouth where the little “Witch’s Hat” cave caught the shifting colors of a sun settling into drowsy stillness.

1027 Witch's Hat

1027 Witch’s Hat

We were back in the spell of our charming little city sprawled below as lights already began to twinkle where sun had already departed. Enchanting as every journey is, there’s no place like home.

2015/09/28

For Example

Now that I have a few moments, here are some pix from that Big Sur drive. Every time we’re there several new “discoveries” enchant us, and we have several “favorite” spots. Like the Nathaniel Owings Memorial Redwood Grove, our first major stop going North. Looking up into the serene redwoods where water cascades over massive boulders and pauses in refreshing pools transports us instantly beyond.

0493 Owings Redwoods

0493 Owings Redwoods

Due to the drought, the water is completely gone except for a few puddles where little black flies bred, greeting our arrival by buzzing into ears, eyes, and noses. Our visit was much shorter than usual, with only brief pauses as we took in quiet memories at a fast walk with hands waving them away. Most of the coast belonged to the flies that day, so our next major stop was the waterfall walk at Julia Pfeiffer Burns where even at a brisk walk it was instantly transformative.

0552 McWay Falls

0552 McWay Falls

By the house ruins we lingered a moment among the flies to savor this bloom on the slope and pondered when they were planted, by whom, and what other hearts have and will be touched by them.

0584 Pink Slope

0584 Pink Slope

Another high priority stop for us is Nepenthe where we’ve enjoyed private romantic moments, meals with family and friends.

0608 Nepenthe

0608 Nepenthe

As with most stops there, we also ventured out through the gift shop to sound the gongs and chimes to honor those souls and the magic of that place. All along the coast of course are spectacular views, and for me especially the interplay of stillness and ceaseless motion. For example a stone standing alone amid the swirling splashing seas, resolute against countless storms yet destined to fall.

0511 Steadfast

0511 Steadfast

When we arrived at Asilomar the sunset had collected a scattered crowd, hushed in anticipation of transition toward dream time when we would each process wordless moments from this life in the sun.

0613 To Dream

0613 To Dream

2015/09/22

Baby Love

Took my baby to Big Sur. Well, flew her to San Luis Obispo then drove Big Sur in a rental car to a fancy hotel in Monterey. Along the way we stopped at some favorite spots and I took her on a surprise detour to Asilomar Beach where she danced a sunset delight. The next day driving back to SLO she kindly posed for this.

0704 Big Sur Baby

0704 Big Sur Baby

Even though we’ve driven and flown this coast so many times, we’re already talking about going back. This time the focus was on celebration more than exploration.

2015/08/07

Passing Pescadero

Passing Pescadero State Beach we turn East toward San Jose, but first a few more pix of this enchanted stretch of CA coast from Oceano to here. Though these homes are conveniently next to the highway with great oceanfront lots you’d want to either live and work nearby, have lots of time and patience, or commute via helicopter.

4915 Home Away From

4915 Home Away From

It’s only 5 minutes’ drive from the store in Pescadero, but the population of 650 or so might limit options. Half Moon Bay with 20,000 or so people is only a bit over 20 minutes if there’s no traffic, fog, or storm. Santa Cruz has plenty to offer after a 45 minute drive or so. But on a good day (and time) you can be in San Fransisco in about an hour, so living here is a great choice for some. On the other hand, if you don’t often need to go anywhere, what a fabulous place to Be!

4914 Being There

4914 Being There

My guess is the beautiful moss on those rocks means there’s plenty of ground water available, maybe even without digging a well if you have a spring to tap. I wake to surf song and laughing gulls, stroll sleepily out to my stairway and down onto the sand, and let the sea soothe me into the rhythm of another day. Just beyond this little dream is our last bridge on this tour, at Pescadero State Beach.

4907 Pescadero State Beach

4907 Pescadero State Beach

Turning inland to climb over the mountains we glimpse the little secret gMaps calls Dairy Gulch.

4900 Dairy Gulch

4900 Dairy Gulch

That trail from the beach leads to a narrow foot bridge across the shallow slot canyon.

4900 Slot Bridge

4900 Slot Bridge

Breathing deeply, we take in the expansive view back along the path of a leisurely flight taking less than two hours to deliver two million magical moments. This is one of the countless reasons people love to fly.

4899 Into The Hills

4899 Into The Hills

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: