Camp Cloud- February in Big Sur

I don't get tired of Big Sur. I think it is impossible. The incredible grandeur of cliffs jutting out of the cerulean waves isn't an effect that wears off. The quality of the aesthetic is apparent in the number of cars pulled off at every turn out, with folding chairs and binoculars. I appreciate these folks, that stop and relax and enjoy the view along the way, and nowhere else are their numbers so vast as along the highway in Big Sur. 

Still Big Sur's Ventana Wilderness is one of the most rugged backpacking regions in California. Water is scarce, slopes are steep, and hazards are plentiful. Though this trip was purely a "car-camping" excursion, it wet our appetites for the back country. It's pretty easy to get off the beaten track in Big Sur if you know the way. 

Not quite off the beaten path yet. Our first stop was Garrapata Beach in Northern Big Sur. We stopped here in January and hoped that the beloved calla lilies were still blooming. We were in incredible luck. 

We lingered and explored a small section of the beach, but soon we hit the road again. We were in Big Sur with two "first-timers" so we were hoping we would be able to get down to Pfeiffer Beach. Anyone who tells you that Pfeiffer Beach is off the beaten path is lying to you THROUGH THEIR TEETH. While the one lane road that takes you there certainly feels rustic, the parking lot is often full to capacity early in the day, and otherwise requires a 2-mile walk down aforementioned one-lane road. But it is a GREAT spot, and we got very lucky to be there early enough to snag a spot in the parking lot, where we unloaded picnic supplies and helped ourselves to a small patch of picnic worthy sand. 

Amy digs for picnic supplies in the back of GBOOP. 

It was an overcast day, but stunning all the same. 

Once we had chowed down it was time to get really nuts. We drove past miles of beautiful coast until we reached our turn off. A beautifully steep fire road in Los Padres National Forest. If you didn't know already, fire roads often lead to remote and desolate places, but are generally open to the public for "dispersed camping." Bring your own water and toilet supplies though, all you'll find is a patch of cleared dirt on which to pitch a tent. No plumbing here. 

Up up up. We were chasing blue skies, trying to escape the dreary cloud-covered slopes below. 

Above the clouds. 

There was someone already parked at our usual spot, and while they invited us to join them (thanks guys!) We decided to give them the privacy they deserved and went in hunt of a new pullout. The clouds raced up to join us during our search. 

We found a perfect spot! We dubbed it Camp Cloud, due to the fact that we were completely enshrouded upon arriving. 

The clouds rolled in like waves. A constant in and out. Perhaps swiftly moving tides works better. We were in the clouds one minute, and the next... 

We were sitting above the clouds, surrounded by early spring blossoms. 

Rosie harvests some early blooms. This is a two-handed task, so the beer and the phone had to be stowed under arm.

Yeah. Magic. 

We enjoyed the night, but once we woke up, we were in the clouds again. We couldn't tell if it was a cloud, or rain, or some other previously unknown source of precipitation. We packed up, nervous that excessive moisture could turn the rugged roads from difficult to impassable. None of us had any problem being stuck on the mountain, but our bosses may have felt differently. 

 

But we broke through the bottom of the clouds! And there were blue skies and bright sunlight waiting for us. 

Captain Mike and Bear, the fearless Taco Pilots. 

Los Dos Tacos. (Captain Mike and Bear call their Toyota Tacomas "Tacos")

We were rushing to get home for prior engagements, but we had to stop at Henry Miller Memorial Library. If for no other reason than they have flush toilets. Even after only one night in the woods, it is nice to come down the mountain and enjoy the modern amenities. 

It was here in Big Sur I first learned to say Amen!
— Henry Miller

And for our final stop in Big Sur we checked out the Albino Redwood. Definitely one of my favorite Big Sur attractions! Scientifically very intriguing, after all a plant that cannot produce chlorophyll essentially can only exist within a parasitic relationship (in the case of the redwood, it is parasitic to the "mother tree" and other trees within its root network.)

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we will never give enough of is love.
— Henry Miller

I'm sure we will be back soon (in fact, we already set a date!). Big Sur calls us. Be sure to check out the trip soundtrack via the link below!