Do you ever put off doing something because you know how much you'll love it, and you want to continue savoring the anticipation? I had done that with Big Sur since I moved to California. Part of this tendency, for me, is worrying that the place/experience/event will let me down in some way, but part of it is also avoidance of being so overwhelmed by happiness in that moment that I become disenchanted with everyday life. Constant seeking of the New Experience High has become a bit of a problem for me; when I'm not out exploring, I burrow, unable to accept that I have to deal with real world problems like taxes and errands and bills and doing the laundry. I seem to be a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to this thing we call adulthood (among other things).
How do I describe Big Sur without sounding hyperbolic? It was magnificent, it was fresh, it was bright, it was blue and green and tan. It was the same California coastline I've become accustomed to, but wilder. There were jagged cliffs with houses built right on the edge. White foam, inaccessible bays dug deep into the crevices along the shoreline. Bixby Bridge. The sea stretching out to infinity.
Kalen and I saw whales coming up for air, seagulls on seemingly suicidal dive-bombing missions, cows grazing in cliff-lined pastures, and beaches teeming with elephant seals in full-on babymakin' mode. As we drove along the curvy, narrow, precarious Pacific Coast Highway, I felt the simultaneous tug of freedom and isolation. Big Sur is a place still mostly unconquered by man, and even where humans have tried to take control (evidenced by the occasional mail drop box, house, and cattle dotting the hillside), there are limits; there's only so much a person can do when their land ends abruptly in cliffs.
We only scratched the surface, but it was just what I needed to ignite a fire under myself to explore it more in depth. I love Southern California, but something about the Central Coast called to me in a way I wasn't expecting. Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur; these are places I will be spending a lot more time with in the coming months and years.
The first six pictures are from Monterey and Point Lobos State Reserve; the rest are from Big Sur itself. We had to drive from Santa Cruz to LAX to pick Toby up by 8:30pm, so I used the time crunch as an excuse to take fewer photos and use my naked eye to take in my surroundings instead. A big thanks to Kalen for driving most of this stretch. You're a champion.