Redwoods and Ocean

After my Bay Area Exploration, it was time to head down the coast. I received some excellent suggestions from Justin and family on things to see, do, and experience.

As part of the Great American Road trip, a jaunt down the Pacific Coast Highway must be done.

A rugged coastline with many quiet and (relatively) obscure stops along the way.

Of course, legal camping along the way can be tricky. I made a detour to the Big Basin Redwoods State Park at the last minute. It proved to be a fortuitous pitstop.

I had never seen the coastal redwoods before. Upon entering the park, I felt as if I had entered an enchanted woodland. It was lush, green, and with trees that dwarfed anything I’ve seen before. Even the remnants of the trees had a certain majesty.

The woods were lovely, dark, and deep as the old poem goes…

On the hike I took, the sunlight filtered through the large canopy of trees in an otherworldly way.

I did not intend to go this state park, but I was indeed glad of my time there.

I then made my way down the coast to Point Lobos. A place many describe as one of the most stunning views along this famous highway.

It was time to leave the coast behind and make my way inland. I found an expensive, mediocre county campground not far away. But it was legal, there were showers, and it served as a suitable place to call home for the night.

The following day I made an appropriate literary pilgrimage to the National Steinbeck Center.

Rocinante via Curb Side Classics.

Though the Travels with Charley tale brought me to this center, I was mesmerized by the Grapes of Wrath display. Perhaps it was all the time I have spent in Dust Bowl areas, or seeing the readings, outtakes from plays, or movies, but Steinbeck’s words still resonate over seventy years after it was written. And continues to influence.

On my way to Palm Springs, I could not resist making a pit stop at a historic mission. Over two-hundred years old. And still a vibrant place of worship and belief.

from Wikipedia Commons
from YouTube

I enjoyed my time walking through the old rooms and seeing the frescoes in the church. But it was time to head to points further south.

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11 Replies to “Redwoods and Ocean”

  1. Next time try going north! My favorite redwood grove is Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith State Park–awesome redwoods on the bank of the Smith River.

    Also, try a hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a bit farther south. Hike a mile away from the road and the silence will overwhelm you!

  2. Like most people I was captured by the romanticism of Travels with Charlie only to discover, years later, that it was fiction. I was doubly disappointed to find out that one of my favorite writers, Henry David Thoreau, lived on Walden Pond which was just a mile or so from his brother’s house where he would regularly go for a meal, a bath, and to borrow tools. That wasn’t exactly the image he portrayed as a young independent man going deliberately into the woods to find himself. Nevertheless, a road trip or a hike in the woods is always good for the psyche. Keep on keepin’ on. I always enjoy your posts.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/books/steinbecks-travels-with-charley-gets-a-fact-checking.html

      • I understand what you’re saying but I wonder how many people were influenced by Steinbeck to hit the road based on his claim that he saw the country from his truck only to have their experiences fall short of expectations. I saw quite a few people who went looking for America in the 60’s and 70’s who returned home disillusioned and/or broke. Most of them would have done far better continuing in school or work. Luckily, many of them were able to recuperate in a sympathetic family members’ basement.

        It seems there should be some kind of responsibility for integrity in art. I think I’ll stick with Bill Shakespeare’s declaration, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

        • I saw quite a few people who went looking for America in the 60’s and 70’s who returned home disillusioned and/or broke. Most of them would have done far better continuing in school or work. Luckily, many of them were able to recuperate in a sympathetic family members’ basement.

          Eh…no different than if people read WALK IN THE WOODS, WILD, or DHARMA BUMS, magazine articles, various journals, etc. and did not plan accordingly, and were disillusioned with the romance vs. the reality. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          I think I’ll stick with Bill Shakespeare’s declaration, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

          “Friends, Romans, Dudes, People, Yous…I made up this speech that we have no record of”
          Bill? and also “borrowed” heavily from others? 😀

          • From my experience, it would be hard to imagine any amount of planning that could prepare a new Pacific Crest Trail hiker for the disillusionment that comes from walking miles and miles through areas where forests and deserts have been burnt to the ground and blackened by wildfires.

            Add to that the monotonous trudging along countless switchbacks that weave down the length of one side of a box canyon, around the back, and up along the other side only to go over the crest into another box canyon and it isn’t long before the accuracy of the title “Scenic Footpath” that rarely ever straddles a crest comes into question.

            The group of hikers I encountered on the PCT in Southern California mitigated much of this disappointment by laughingly reminding each other that it will all look better on Facebook. 

            • Hence the “romance vs reality”. And the amount of planning, if you will, that comes from that is more from experience or personal characteristics. Coming from a cynical blue-collar family is oddly good for dealing with life’s curveballs. More idealistic and less practical upbringings may expect unicorns, rainbows, and rock candy mountains. 🙂 And, no matter how much reality fell short of idealism, I know I am ou doing something I want rather than working on yet another PowerPoint a handful of people will see and then quickly forget.

              • Well, please don’t give up on your blog even if few people will see or remember it. I’ve read just about everything you’ve written and have greatly enjoyed all the hard work you’ve put into it.

        • All comments are moderated and are not responded to, or approved until I have time to write in depth. Since I am traveling, and do not update my website every day, you’ll just have to wait your turn like everyone else. 🙂 Luckily I am in Phoenix now and staying with friends. Next time may be three or four days from now. 🙂

  3. Nice go on Big Basin! I grew up in Santa Cruz and when I was 18 worked for an outdoor ed program whose property abutted the park. The place is a temple. A humbling, majestic and magical place to walk. Cheers.

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