Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big Sur Magic Photo Tour

There's a place midway along the coast of California where rugged mountains meet the Pacific ocean, creating one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. For miles and miles, the slender road named Highway One clings to steep mountainsides, winding its way through canyons, cliffs, and high narrow bridges, and the speed limit rarely tops 35 miles per hour. Until the road was built, in the 1930s with convict labor, the only way to traverse the mountains was via horse trails and precarious wagon roads.
Because of the high rainfall, rockslides often close portions of the road for months at a time. When we followed it last weekend on our way to Big Sur, four slide areas were under reconstruction.
And so begins our photo tour of Pfeiffer Big Sur state park, where one of the world's three remaining redwood forests begins. Here, in the coastal redwoods, are the world's tallest trees. This area suffered an enormous wildfire in the early autumn of 2009, bringing down many trees, denuding mountainsides, and causing massive landslides that winter.

A fern ravine filled with rocks exposed and tumbled by rainfall.

Fields of clover fill the shady areas.

My daughter Milo and I took a hike up a canyon near our campsite.

Our humble abode in the state park.

Along the rocky Pacific coast, beaches are scarce.


Pfeiffer Beach is subject to fierce riptides. On the path to the beach is a memoriam for a young Kansas girl who was swept out to sea and drowned some years ago while wading at the ocean's edge. Her mother and grandmother also drowned trying to save her.

My husband skips stones on the surf. Temperatures were in the high 50s, and it's a windy beach.

Milo and Kaleb sit on a boulder at the foot of the steep bluffs edging the beach.



This is new growth rising from a fallen redwood. Even when felled, redwoods live on.

I share a last name with this Calochortus Alba, also known as a white globe lily or fairy lantern.

Looking up into the canopy of an old redwood. They are an ancient species, with the older ones in the park dating back to the signing of Magna Carta.

The Big Sur River, which many would call a creek, was flowing fast with rain runoff. Steelhead trout that were born in this river are able to find it again after a season spent in the ocean, and this is their time for swimming upriver to lay eggs.


Blue jays in the state park are used to people.


Fungi will eventually help break down this redwood log.

New growth at the foot of a redwood seared by wildfire.


A variety of grasses line the trails.



The late afternoon sun shines through a grove of young redwood.

Hope you enjoyed this taste of a beautiful place in our neck of the woods.

Thanks for traveling with me.

19 comments:

Brian Miller said...

wow. these are gorgeous shots. what a magical place...gotta put this ont eh must see list...all that nature....

Titanium said...

Ahhhhhh.... (that's me exhaling in wonder and awe...) Thanks for sharing your journey and these wonderful, magical photos.

Best part of my morning, so far!

Syd said...

Beautiful and magnificent come to mind. What things these old trees have "experienced". They are to be revered.

Paul C said...

These shots are truly wonderful especially the ones of the coastline and the shots of the redwoods. Very exciting.

TechnoBabe said...

Great walk through the state park. I know your time there is rejuvenating.

Monkey Man said...

Great shots. Love that stretch of road....from Oregon to SF. Beautiful.

Karen said...

I'm thinking you could have another vocation as a photographer. Beautiful pictures and angles, Chris.

~ Tabitha ~ said...

love love love !!!!

Thanks for sharing,Enchanted :)

Sherry said...

I especially liked the shot looking up at the redwood tree branches! I caught up with some of your other posts - enjoyed reading about your Dad!

Dianne said...

I am so glad for you! what rejuvination, what regrowth, what new life, (and what a camera you have)!!! My favorite place in the whole world, better than Yosemite! (ocean and all....)

phenomenal writer, you sing my song.

and never say sorry again, by the way... this makes up for it. next week my photos sans journalism...

you are healing well
I love you
Di

Magpie said...

Oh, Chris, these are wonderful!! I would love to experience this trip. It all looks magical. I'm so glad you were able to be there with family and recharge.

RNSANE said...

Chris, it was wonderful to visit here again. I had driven up Highway 1, once from L. A. to San Francisco - spectacular drive but didn't really go down into the redwoods. Another time, when I was going down to the conference at Shell Beach, taking my nurse colleague who had flown in to SFO from Memphis, I decided to go down Highway 1 along the coast, fully intending to cut over to 101 once it got too dark to see any more scenery. I didn't realize there wasn't any cut over from a certain point until right near San Luis Obispo! It was quite a tedious drive, in the dark, on those hairpin curves!

Scott said...

Thank you SO much for sharing your camping trip with us... I want to see that place for myself and one day my family and I shall.

I love the shot of the Stellar's Jay and those redwoods are so magnificent. Some of the oldest living things on earth are in those groves.

What a wonder! God is so magnificent, these gifts He gives us.

Marion said...

Highway 1 is one of my favourite places of all time. I have spent a fair bit of time travelling that highway, always in awe of Creator's gifts.

As I am in awe of yours, Chris. You are an amazing photographer...I felt as if I was walking along those trails and beaches right along with you. The photos are fabulous...they should be in a travel magazine at the very least!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

These shots take us right there. Look up into that redwood canopy is just incredible. Love that gorgeous blue jay as well. Thanks for sharing these.

Hope said...

Beautiful photos. Thank you for posting them.

The Bug said...

Gorgeous!

Birdie said...

LOL Chris, how could I have missed them?? I'm gonna blame it on the painkillers ;-) Thanks for the link. I LOVE it. It must have been a great great w-e!! I'm in a real need of going for something like that!! sigh. I love the "look up" at the redwood tree - just magic. It's a perfect capture!! And the blue jay and all the rest ... sigh. Thank you so much for sharing :-)) have a beautiful w-e!! hugs.

Her Big Sad said...

I'm just in awe. Thank you so much for sharing these. What beauty you captured!

Albert Einstein Quotes