Thursday, October 27, 2022
Today, we drove to Big Sur, located in the middle of the California coastline. When the Spanish were exploring this area, they referred to the coastal region south of Monterey as el país grande del sur, or the big country of the south. Over time, the Spanish and English terms were combined to create the name “Big Sur,” so Big South, I guess.
The area is sparsely populated. Drivers on California State Route 1 are treated to amazing views, unencumbered by houses or other structures. One notable exception is the Point Sur Naval Facility, most of which is now part of the California State Park system. The lighthouse and facilities are open to tourists on a limited basis. We’ll be gone before the next opportunity comes.
We arrived at our lodge in the late afternoon, where we spent some time getting to know the area, and plan our activities for tomorrow.
Friday, October, 28, 2022
Our lodging, The Big Sur Lodge, shares an entrance with the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. There are two other parks nearby, Andrew Molera State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Stays at the lodge include a pass to any of these parks while we are here. Besides its excellent location, the lodge’s rooms are comfortable and the food is very good. There is a small market too, helpful, since there aren’t many shops in the area.
Keeping things simple, we opted to hike in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. There are several trails to choose from. Lengths vary from .5 – 23 miles, with elevation gains from 42 – 9583 feet. We opted for a couple of moderate trails, we’re not that young anymore. Valley View & Pfeiffer Falls combines a short walk to the falls, with a hike to the view.
While hiking, we kept our eyes open for the California Condor, which is often sighted along the Big Sur coast. We did see one large bird soaring above, but it was too far for us to determine if it was a condor or just a buzzard. The other large birds in attendance were turkeys, who apparently live on the lodge grounds. A tom took issue with Mark as he was walking by, and harassed him until he was well away.
After an easy walk through the woods, we came to Pfeiffer Falls, a narrow, 60 foot high waterfall that drops into the Pfeiffer-Redwood Creek, a tributary to the Big Sur River.
Then, the hiking began as we headed to the Valley View. It was a bit more strenuous, and the path was less smooth. We watched our step, did a little scrambling, and were well rewarded. From the vantage point at the top of the hike, we could see the Point Sur Naval Facility and the ocean. Did we see a condor? Don’t know.
And so, another lovely trip comes to an end, as we head back home soon, back to the dropping temperatures of the Minnesota fall.