This past weekend, I took a drive through one of the most beautiful areas on the West coast. The trip to California's Big Sur was spurred by the fact that Victoria, my girlfriend, was going to be wrapping up a week-long writing seminar at the famed Esalen Institute. We decided to take advantage of her location and spend a few extra days camping and hiking among the redwoods before heading back home to the big city bustle of Los Angeles.
The stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, starting in the small town of Cambria and heading north to Carmel-by-the-Sea, winds 100 miles along rugged, mountainous coastline. The road begins as a meandering, sea level cruise in Cambria and then starts to climb. Before long, it becomes a series of sharp, precarious turns clinging to the cliff hundreds of feet above the rocky surf. Around every bend is a view somehow more breathtaking than the last, and there are plenty of places to pull off and take pictures.
Vicky and I opted for an easy hike this time, so we settled on the trails at Limekiln State Park, named for the ruins of gigantic furnaces used to process lime back in the late 1800s. The park's 3 miles of trails wind along small creeks and pass through groves of giant redwoods. At the end of one of the trails is a waterfall that feeds a stream that flows down across a rocky beach into the ocean.