Big Sur

March happened to be spring break for many students and all the camp grounds on the coast looked booked on-line. We decided to drive Pacific Coast 1 anyway and see what we could find. This was my first time to Big Sur and the surrounding areas. I was floored by the beauty and now know why this drive is so magnificent. We asked at Plaskett Creek Camp ground if we could stay a night. They were full but let us share a group site with another friendly surfer man (John). We sat outside the van and enjoyed the ocean sounds. In the morning we ran along the muddy coastline, some in pastures.

spot the van at Plaskett Creek SP

Sunshine, sea air, trail running, and even mud..ahhhhh happy place. The national forest lets people camp for free right up the hill from where we stayed. Tricky road but we know now for next time. Crazy views.

Elephant seals sunning on the beach. I didn’t know what they were at first.

They had some official viewing areas but Paul and I drove to a beach spot where kite boarders were surfing. I walked down the road a ways to a small bridge and looked over. To my surprise there were all these elephant seals looking up at me. They found a perfect place to hide and swim in creek water. They made fun noises while playing. I ran back to tell Paul and show him my discovery. We watched for a bit and then left them to their privacy. Cool find.

San Simeon Camp Ground was set back from the beach. Our daily run included scenic overlooks, rest-stop benches and interpretive panels with information on wildlife and habitat. San Simeon Natural Preserve consists of vast wetlands, riparian areas, and several undisturbed native plant communities including unique mima mound topography. The Preserve is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly populations. Very pleasant indeed. The beach is vast but it was windy and I couldn’t even find a place to nestle in and enjoy a book. Lots of driftwood everywhere too.

Cambria is a pleasant shopping stop. We buy bread and have taco lunch from a food truck. We make our way inland on 166 and find parking in National forest land. ( one dirt road was way too scary for me and treacherous) There is plenty of bug life but also extreme quiet. Peaceful night sleep.

Morning rest stop in a small town New Cayuma. Head back to the ocean over a pass on 33. Stop and eat lunch out of van to take in the sights a bit longer.

Back at the beach we camp at El Capitan SB, Nice ocean views but a rocky beach. I walk a mile north and find one with sand to relax and read. Only a short dip here as the water is so cold. Wake early and enjoy a sunrise run with bunnies, wild flowers, and hugging the ocean. The bike path was closed because of erosion but you can manage a run and it connects with Refugio SB. This is a nice spot directly on the beach with sand. Would be my choice next time.

Gaviota SB is rustic but has charm. Nice sand beach, showers, train bridge, and many interesting rock formations.

It gets windy here and dusty too so being in a van was a plus. Paul and I did an epic run to a sulfer hot spring. It was harder than we expected, and longer, but we both agreed it was worth the challenge.

Lake Piru is off the beach but worth mentioning. The camp is set in a 100 year old Olive Grove. Very quiet at the beginning of April but is probably hopping in the summer. The green trees, blossoms, deer and crazy big horn cows make it even more interesting.

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