My first thought upon finding myself in Big Sur is how gloriously jumbled the place is. Driving and hiking through its 90 miles of coastline, you can go through patches of chilly fog and warm sunlight every five minutes and fifty feet of elevation. Walking along its shady stream paths and climbing along its scenic ridges is like taking a big bite of California mixed greens. One side of the path is redwoods, the other is oak, and ten feet higher is acres of trademark sierra scrub. You can fan yourself on the top scraggly Buzzard’s Roost and watch the chilly pacific surf crash into craggy pinnacles or calmly lap over enticing sandy shelves that make the freezing water look like a mouth-watering blue raspberry Slurpee. I honestly can’t say what I was expecting to find at Big Sur, but this wild jumble of flora, fauna, and fog at first puzzled me and then sent me head over heels with its rough and tumble beauty.
Chilling at the top of Buzzards Roost- a rewarding three mile hike!
These Labor Day girl-time camping trips are one of my favorite yearly traditions and yes, that may include Christmas and my birthday. There is honestly nothing better than five of your best girlfriends, a car full of junk food, and a twenty-four pack of Stella in a place with no cell reception, no showers, and a beautiful view for the whole weekend. We create special mixed CDs for the ride up with all the guilty pleasure songs we only play once a year, we climb trees, we make fires, we talk about our lives in the way only best girlfriends can do and we have macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. What more is there to paradise?
Diana stretching in the surf. Don’t let her smile fool you, it was freezing!!
I say this every year, but this year was probably one of my favorite trips so far. Sara, her sister Amy, and I started out in Northridge on Friday afternoon with a back seat full of board games and booze that I had bought at Costco. We made it up to campsite with only a little traffic trouble, but forgot to stop at a grocery store along the way for things like ice, a can-opener, milk, and a few other basic necessities. We did, however, have 96 granola bars, a handle of Smirnoff, and 8 cans of tuna we couldn’t open. We had a happy weekend of improvising ahead.
Kirk Creek campground was beautiful, with some of the best ocean views around. It was cold but not freezing and, after two months in the desert, the change was a welcome relief. Saturday was hiking day, Saturday night was board games and beer, and Sunday was more hiking-including a trip to the only California coastal waterfall, which you can’t see in this picture because we are standing in front of it.
Us, hobo-ing it up to the waterfall.
Casualties for the weekend include three flip-flops (which I won the survivor challenge for because I fixed them long enough to get everyone safely back to camp), Sara’s finger (which she cut on one of our first attempts to open the cans of tuna until Diana figured out how to open them with a handy dandy pocket knife), a pair of my sweat pants (which got a hole burned in the leg while I was in deep conversation with an Indian software engineer about the Higgs-Boson particle), and my hair (which still smells like campfire even though I’ve washed it three times).
We met new friends–Little A**hole, our raccoon pal that unabashedly raided our camp while we yelled at him; Trucker Barbie, who set up her tent with her grizzled boyfriend in a thong; Fabulous Fashion Guy, who walked past our site every morning wearing a stained t-shirt, a knitted ski-cap with ear flaps, and shorts; and the Indian Pod, six great nerdy Punjabi guys from Sacramento who invited us over to their camp for some Indian dancing, champagne, and Crown Royal–and enjoyed old laughs about past trips.
I’m a little sad to be back at work so soon, but I’m still smiling as I remember the jumbo marshmallows, the beautiful trails, the funny jokes that no one will get but us, and the laughter, the laughter, the laughter.
Seriously, there is nothing like a good camping trip.
Mel was sad because her Smart Dog was smaller than my Kielbasa
Cool rocks on our sand-less beach.
Awesome Sara on her awesome rock.
See you next week!!
-Eau d’Campfire Jill