Big Sur in Bloom

Back to California we go.

This time Big Sur.  I’ve been through Big Sur before on the famous US1 highway that hugs the Pacific coastline.  We even stayed at the impossibly posh Post Ranch Inn a few years ago and got to take one of the hotel Lexus convertibles out.  Very cool.  But it was March and clearly May is the best time to visit.  I think California must have about 1,000,000 wildflowers per square foot or something and almost all of them bloom in May.  It’s an explosion; a riot of color that really has to be seen to be believed.  I tried my best to capture it, but in person is so much better.  Highly recommended.

This first shot is heading toward the ocean on a little road that shoots off of the 46 and connects with US1…I forget what it’s called, but we had to stop and gawk.  The water in the middle ground is Whale Rock Reservoir.  The water in the background is the Pacific.  You can see the dam holding the water in the distance, too.  Spectacular.

Down to the Waterline (Whale Rock Reservoir)

Hills along the 46 near Big Sur

On the day we drove by the reservoir we were heading to the beach for a bit, but we planned to hike in Big Sur in the next couple of days.  Originally we wanted to hit Garrapata State Park, but due to miles and miles of construction on US1 the access was off limits unless we wanted to walk miles through construction zones to get there.  We were bummed, but went to the Andrew Molera State Park instead.

Our first stop was a quick walk to the beach where the Big Sur River meets the ocean -

Entering into Peace (Big Sur River)

At the End of Our Day (Big Sur River)

The view from up on the headland is spectacular.  I love how there’s one guy on the beach in that second shot – it shows the scale really well.  Later on tons of people arrived and the shots would have been ruined, so I’m glad we went here before heading up to the hills.

The Long Goodbye (Big Sur River)

Headland in Big Sur

If you take a look at the 1st black and white river photo up there, you can see a pointed hill almost exactly in the middle of the background.  Not the highest one, but the one just to the right of it.  We decided to climb that – it’s the East Molera Trail.

Mystery Hiker on the East Molera Trail

It takes a few miles to get to the 1600 foot summit or so and the trails are pretty steep and covered in large loose rocks so going down was sort of nightmarish for me with my wonky ankles.  You can see the trail zig-zagging up the hill.  But oh the view.  It was worth it.

Big Sur in Bloom

Lupines and other wild flowers burst into bloom at Big Sur

As we neared the top, I looked back the way we had come.  Way down was the ocean and the jutting headland where I took the pictures of the Big Sur river emptying into the Pacific (it’s there on the left).  Pretty cool.  Below us, hawks and vultures danced and soared in the thermals.

Looking back at the headland and US1

And even the moon seemed to dip low and appreciate the view -

California Moon

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