Big Sur 2013

Part Two of the lovely West Coast picture series. A day trip through Big Sur goes from sea-level to epic altitude.

The previous album, California 2013 showcased an adventure in the time leading up to a conference in Silicon Valley. This album showcases a the time afterwards.

I spent several days in San Jose at an AMD conference. I had a day between the end of the conference and my flight home, so I planned a day trip to Big Sur. In a fashion very common to that of other TMTB operations, there was very little premeditation. After determining that Big Sur was more of a region than a discrete place, I decided to throw the gear in the car and drive until I found a cool spot to ride or hike.

Being on East Coast time, I got on the road at 3 or 4am. I hit Highway 1 for a few hours, stopping to get some pictures along the way. There were a few spots to pull over that had minor walking trails with scenic views. It was pretty friggin' nice to walk along these paths, enjoy the crisp, fresh morning air as the sun came up, getting a few pictures along the way.

After a few hours of driving, I came across the “Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park”. The “find a park” objective had been met. Time to climb.

The mountain bike was assembled and oiled up when a park ranger drove past my staging area. The ranger let me know that the trails weren't really for mountain biking and, while it wasn't prohibited, it was strongly discouraged. The ranger was a rather cute young woman and, for some reason, I didn't see fit to disagree with her recommendation of hiking.

From the trail head, the trails were fairly well maintained, but over the course of 2 hours of consistent uphill hiking, they devolved into fairly narrow, rocky paths. There were several spots where small rock slides had wiped away sections of the path. By the summit, the overgrowth around the trail brought the width of the trail down to 1 foot at spots. There were plenty of rocky, unnavigable sections, dried up vegetation that would have ruined tires, and several bizarrely-steep ascents. Wise was the cute park ranger...

It took about 2 and a half hours to get to the top and it was one of the most tiring hikes I've ever done. Aside from the technical navigation of the steadily degrading trail, the morning temperature went from 45 to 75 in about an hour. I was bundled up when I started and shirtless when I got to the summit. If only the ranger was there...

Then there was the view: Holy friggin' goodness, those mountains... I really missed the mountains of Pennsylvania, but these made them look like small hills. And they were all rocky-lookin' and sexy. I took a lot of pictures. The camera battery died. So did I. Enjoy.