In a continued effort to be a tourist in my own area, I packed up my camera, put on my hair and headed out to Big Sur a couple of weeks ago. Despite living smack in the middle or the Pacific Coast Highway, I've never made the drive up the cliff to Big Sur.
And when I say cliff, I mean cliff. It was sketchy.
My madre, sister and her kids joined along for the adventure as we drove up the coast for a little day trip.
On the drive, you will be parallel to the ocean and various coastal towns and then pass through San Simeon, right by the elephant seal beach and Hearst Castle . (be sure to be on the look out for the zebras in front of Hearst, and elephant seals randomly along the drive. We saw a couple just of the side of the road!)
The first stop we made along the way was to a small turnoff on the side of the road (there were plenty of those along the way, if you were wondering about it.) We stretched our legs, took in the gorgeous blue water and viewed the Bixby Bridge.
We drove onward and upward to Julia Pfeiffer state park, were we ate a little picnic lunch before beginning the small hike to McWay Falls.
The term "hike" is used pretty loosely, I think. It was about a mile there and back in total, I believe they say, but incredibly easy to walk. It literally took about five minutes to get up to the viewing area.
Once there, you have this incredible view of the water fall and the wide open ocean.
Seriously look at the water though you guys, I've never wanted to dive into a body of water so badly in my life. So blue and clear.
Also be warned, that if you have a camera in your hand everybody and their mother will ask you to take pictures for them. Even those equipped with selfie sticks and forward facing cameras.
(I think I may have pointed this reflection out on my trip to Hearst Castle as well.)
On the way back down, we took a peek at the water mill situation, but it was dark and not that interesting so not photo evidence.
After we finished that little adventure, we hopped back in the car to drive over to Pfeiffer Beach. I had found out about this beach and its purple sand on the inter webs, and it was a spot I definitely wanted to check out. However, upon approaching this "hidden gem", we were turned away by a grumpy park worker because it was too full.
So, we drove up a bit further in the Julia Pfeiffer State Park to an area that acts as a campground and has access to Pfeiffer falls.
We didn't have the time to go on that hike, as it was a little bit longer and we wanted to be sure to make it home in the daylight but I'd definitely like to go back and do it some time.
We did take the little nature walk trail however, which led us to a little creek that the boys enjoyed skipping rocks in for a bit.
After that little pit stop, we headed back to the beach entrance to see if we could get in. The man waved us through, and we headed down the couple miles of narrow winding road to another man that charged us $10, not the five the internet said it would be, to head in to the beach parking lot.
(you will also purchase a $10 daypass when you enter the state park for the waterfall, and that pass will get you into all areas of the Julia Pfeiffer park, but not this beach. It is a state park or something like that.)
This beach you can actually swim in, and enjoy as you would a regular beach.
You'll spot the keyhole rock there, but the people won't move out of the way so you can get a good picture and your legs will be too tired to walk further up the beach get a full shot. Instead you'll settle on a nephew crookedly in the middle of it.
If you look real hard you will see some flecks of purple in the sand. I knew going into it that it wasn't like a PURPLE beach, but I was hoping for a bit more purple, ya know?
It does get purpler the further up the beach you walk however, so don't get discouraged if you walk in and only see normal sand.
I like this picture, because I had no idea the eldest kid was in it. Not sure how he ended up there, to be honest.
Then we walked back what seemed liked a thousand miles (I really don't enjoy walking in sand, if you couldn't tell.) back to the car and headed back up the scary road.
While on that scary road, we were < this close > to falling off the side of a cliff as cars were getting stuck trying to pass each other. Debate is still out over how close we were to the edge, and how far it was down but, having been the one in the passenger seat closest to death, I can tell you it was incredibly far down with the hills edge a mere centimeters from the cars tires.
Not even exaggerating at all.
The panic of almost falling to my death continued the whole drive home as we were now on the outer edge of the cliffside road, with no cell service or protection from the elements.
I still have a slight case of PTSD about the whole thing.
I would like to go back one of these days, maybe for a little camping trip and check out all the parks and hikes in the area.
But then I would like to hop on the freeway to drive home, less trauma for me that way.