Years ago, before I got married and raised a family, my husband to be took me on a memorable road trip to the magnificent Big Sur area in California. It is a 90 miles spectacular coastline from the Carmel River south to the San Carpoforo Creek, in the Central Coast of California where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. The terrain is breathtaking and the winding highway 1 along the coastline would captivate and stun you. On our trip, my first to California, we made sure to drive the length of Big Sur, stopping at various spots to either enjoy the ocean, dipping our feet in the roiling water and walking the fairly rocky beach, or pausing to take pictures of the stunning views. There is a certain pulsating strength you feel around Big Sur; the sheer size and wide open beauty is mesmerizing and, perhaps for some, overwhelming. For years, the area was a major attraction to writers and artists, including at one point, as per Wikipedia, Robinson Jeffers, Henry Miller, Richard Brautigan, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and a host of other creative types. It remains a popular tourist attraction to many.
“Memory: a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” Pierce Harris
Before our trip, we had consulted with friends who suggested we enjoy a meal at the famous Nepenthe Restaurant; a former cabin lodge set high on a hill overlooking the Big Sur coastline and the Pacific ocean. I remember being quite struck by the beauty of the ocean from our high point that it was difficult to focus on the meal we had. I know it included seafood and salad, but my heart was drawn to the ocean and that slice of coastline calling my name. We stayed at the Esalen Institute which was known as the Big Sur Hot Springs for several months before it became the Esalen Institute. Our quarters were elegant but simple and the food was an organic, vegetarian feast. What I loved about our stay at Esalen was the chance to enjoy the hot spring tubs perched on the side of the mountain, overlooking the ocean below… The entire experience of being outdoors in a hot tub, feeling the breeze from the ocean and the occasional spray of ocean water was surreal. The ocean views were also truly amazing while crossing Bixby Creek bridge. More below.
“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” Andre Gide
As Aldous Huxley said, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” My memory of Big Sur was triggered by a picture I saw online that reminded me that nature is not only magnificent but powerful too. To drive the span of the coastline is a riveting experience worth taking; the road zigs and zags, dips and turns while the ocean, a fairly treacherous drop down from the road above, beckons. I haven’t been back to travel the full span of the coastline in years and would love to visit it again. I would definitely include it on my list of best places to visit in nature. What about you? What are your thoughts? Where, in nature, have you visited that remains a fond memory? Where’s your best place to go enjoy nature? When did you last visit it? Do share! Thank you.
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: What’s the best place to get outside and enjoy nature?
Positive Motivation Tip: Memories of good times in the past help us stay focused on being happy in the present…
- Perfect Picnic Spot in Big Sur (thecentralcoasttraveler.com)
- A Trip Along the Central Coast: Day 4, Big Sur River Inn Review (thecentralcoasttraveler.com)
- Big Sur, Big Gardens (faroutflora.com)
- Highway 1 South Of Big Sur Remains Closed Due To Rockslide (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)
- big sur (shisomama.wordpress.com)
- Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California (triptographer.wordpress.com)
- Big Sur Part III: Day 3 (A Long Drive on Highway One) (skkalsi.wordpress.com)