Wildflowers and a beach along the coast of Big Sur

Wildflowers and a sandy beach along the coast of Big Sur

So Big Sur… one of the most spectacular sections of the California coast, complete with huge cliffs overlooking the ocean. Sandy beaches, colorful flowers, massive rocks, and amazing views… ah yes… 🙂

After coming back down from a night camping in Monterey, our first priority was to secure a campground in the park so that we had easy access out to the rest of the park and a known place to return to at night. Arriving early to grab a spot after someone had left in the morning, we managed to score an RV campground spot. While at $55/night it was a bit more pricey than a non-RV spot, we had the luxury of electricity (!!), clean water out of a faucet, and even wifi at the campsite! That’s livin’ in luxury! With a campsite next to a delightful river and underneath some gorgeous redwoods, we headed off to go explore this amazing place known as Big Sur. 🙂

Alright so, most everywhere you go here, you’re treated to amazing sights of the coastline. Up and down you go, higher and lower, turning this way and that, enjoying views that range from pretty sweet to ridiculously amazing.

Not only can you see it from a distance, but you can also jump in and hike through the scenery.

Fog is super common here. All day long you’ll have pockets of sun and clouds interchanging. It can also make for some sweet sunsets with different layers of clouds and light playing together.

One of the pullouts we took had a spot to go hiking. From the road it didn’t look like much, but a quick hike in immediately inspires you to take a second opinion. 😉

Looking down at the rocky playground

Looking down at the rocky playground

Here the trail seems to come to an end, but it actually takes a turn down towards the water.

Rocky playground, here we come!!

Rocky playground, here we come!!

On the bottom right portion of the above image, you’ll see some ripply grooves in the dirt. This is hardened dirt somehow eroded away to make one of the coolest trails I’ve ever walked. Down at the bottom hear the water, you’ll see my friend William in a greet shirt for a sense of scale.

Hiking down there, the terrain is pretty gnarly, featuring these sweet climbable rocks everywhere.

Rocky coastal playground

Rocky coastal playground

Walk a bit farther towards the water and you’ll find this lotus flower watching the waves crash against the rocks below.

Lotus Flower overlooking the rocky coast

Lotus Flower overlooking the rocky coast

While I was shooting, my french buddies were off climbing the rocks and playing around on the coast.

My friends playing along the coast in the distance

My friends playing along the coast in the distance

They looked like they were having a blast too, so I went over to take a closer look. They’d found a sweet seaweed whip and were playing around with it.

Alex playing with a seaweed whip

Alex playing with a seaweed whip

While shooting stills, I also had the video camera going on a tripod shooting videos of him swinging the thing over his head.

I noticed these guys love to play as well. For example, they’ll play fight quite a bit. Back at camp at one point, they’d grabbed some sticks and ropes they’d found and started dueling one another.

Alex and Ugo play fighting at camp

Alex and Ugo play fighting at camp

If you look in the background of the shot, you’ll see a river behind the trees. Walk on over to the river and you’ll find things like swimming holes, a swing for little kids, and people playing and enjoying themselves. For example, I found this beautiful creation being built in the river…

Girl stacking rocks with her mom

Girl stacking rocks with her mom

Speaking of water, there’s a well known waterfall in this park, a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. The falls is actually in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It was actually a bit confusing to find it because just south of our camp was a Julia Pfeiffer lodge area or something that we went to at first. It turns out that there’s actually two Julia Pfeiffer areas in the park. Confusing, no? The one we wanted was the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park several miles farther south. Driving down there for sunset, we hiked in and made our way over to the overlook for McWay Falls.

McWay Falls at sunset

McWay Falls at sunset

There’s a boardwalk that you can go walk that spans the length of this bay, giving you different perspectives of the falls similar to this one, some views more to the left closer to the beach, others more to the right out into the ocean. There’s also some blocked off “trails” that lead down to the beach. Those trails have been blocked off because they’re causing lots of damage to the land, wearing away the dirt and plantlife along the cliff that runs down to the water here. Nevertheless, you can see lots of footprints on the beach from people who hopped the fence and barreled down the cliff.

This place was definitely rockin’. If you wanna hear the crash of the waves and see the area in motion, check out the video version here.

I also put together a timelapse of the sunset and added a bit of zooming in post, an effect I think looks pretty sweet. How do you like it?

After the sun set, I took a wider shot, taking a look at more of the bay.

McWay Falls after sunset

McWay Falls after sunset

I’ll bet this place looks pretty amazing in the spring too, when wildflowers are blooming on the nearby cliff. 🙂

It’s not just the landscape and cliffs that are awesome. There’s also a bunch of animals here.

Along the drive you’ll find big pastures of cows, cows that live in the foggy cliffside meadows overlooking the ocean. What a place for a cow to live, eh!?

The ocean itself is also teeming with life. There you’ll find animals like whales, dolphins, and elephant seals. There’s even a protected beach that’s home to many elephant seals, appropriately enough called Elephant Seal Beach.

At elephant seal beach, you’ll find any number of elephant seals laying on the beach and soaking in the sun, swimming in the water, or if you’re lucky enough, fighting with one another!

Yeah, definitely an awesome place. After cruising up and down the coast of Big Sur, we were finally ready to hit the road and go settle into San Francisco for a while. One of my French buddies would be flying out of SF back to France. The other two would be heading back to LA before going back home to France. I was ready for some downtime after getting thoroughly exhausted with all the driving and epic epicness. Time to relax, rejuvenate, and rest! Off to San Francisco we go… 🙂

One Comments

  1. Jon Thomas
    on September 9th, 2010
    1

    My aunt has a house near here-beautiful!

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