Around the World, California, Hiking Cali: Yosemite, Big Sur + Beyond, USA

[Down in the Valley – Big Sur, CA]

February 20, 2016

You almost pre-emptively create a memory as you drive into Big Sur. Rolling down the 101 passing by cliff side views with the waves crashing against the shore and finally winding down into a thick forest making you question what time of the day it really is.  Big Sur reminds me smells like great big pine trees and late nights with friends. My only regret is that we didn’t bring marshmallows to roast for s’mores. We ate dinner at our inn after realizing of course we were in the woods and had no service. Fortunately we’d grabbed a bottle of wine from our Wandering Dog Wine Bar tasting the day before and played Flux (card game) for several hours until finally our sleepyiness kicked in and we retreated to our separate little cabin rooms stocked with books and thick down comforters.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Wine and blankets just in time for a game of flux

Wine and blankets just in time for a game of flux

In the morning we got up and couldn’t help but sit down for a really lovely brunch at Big Sur Bakery ahead of our hike. The picture I took did it no justice because we ate it so quickly. We had a ham and cheese streudel as we waited and it was worth gambling we wouldn’t be hungry by the time we got a table.

First came breakfast

First came breakfast

Ham and cheese streudel, gone before you knew it

Ham and cheese streudel, gone before you knew it

Big Sur

Keeping the table warm

There were many succulents, some had decided to overachieve and become giant cactuses

There were many succulents, some had decided to overachieve and become giant cactuses

We thought flowers had been put on the table for valentine's day but turns out they just fell from a tree

We thought flowers had been put on the table for valentine’s day but turns out they just fell from a tree

Mike, Nina and a breakfast pizza

Mike, Nina and a breakfast pizza

I mean, it was valentine's day!

I mean, it was valentine’s day! [photo:@ninanyc]

We’d been looking for something moderate so we’d get a little bit of length in and the possibility of a nice mix of valley and ocean views. We settled on the Ewoldsen trail which all in was roughly 4.5 miles round trip. If you park in the lot it’s something like $10 fee but if you park along the roadside which you will likely have to do as the lot fills up that is free save the moments in which you’re walking and anxious about getting hit by a car.

Before you get any hike you're tempted to pull over and check out the staggering cliff views

Before you get any hike you’re tempted to pull over and check out the staggering cliff views

We made it! Hello Julia Pfeiffer State Park

We made it! Hello Julia Pfeiffer State Park

Ben took this picture of me after I climbed on this log

Ben took this picture of me after I climbed on this log

We made our way through the woods, incline was tough but worth it

We made our way through the woods, incline was tough but worth it

They say you have to go over the river...

They say you have to go over the river…

And Through the woods

And Through the woods

But we like to take some breaks

But we like to take some breaks

And it's really hard not too with all these redwoods

And it’s really hard not too with all these redwoods

Note, it also smells like pine trees everywhere. I give this hike an A+ for smells.

Note, it also smells like pine trees everywhere. I give this hike an A+ for smells.

After a little more climbing we cleared the forest

After a little more climbing we cleared the forest

Saw some folks having a picnic and wished we'd brought snacks

Saw some folks having a picnic and wished we’d brought snacks

And just a little further around the bend

And just a little further around the bend

You get to see this!

You get to see this!

Ben stuck his tongue out at me

Ben stuck his tongue out at me

I mean, come on.

I mean, come on.

Back into the woods!

Back into the woods!

Goodbye hike, you were fun!

Goodbye hike, you were fun!

Well, now we were totally exhausted. Desperately we searched for a place to eat, first stopping by Nepenthe which offered these stunning views but also a 2.5 hour wait for the actual restaurant and had just finished service to the cafe level. Nina had a smoothie, we people watched for five minutes and called it a day. Several failed attempts later and we wound up at Maiden Publick House (can’t tell you if the food was good or bad because we tried so many places first and waited an hour to eat so we inhaled everything) near Big Sur River Inn where we indulged in a linner (lunch + dinner) and made our way home with a brief stop for coconut waters and cookies.

Caught one last view of the ocean on the way out

Caught one last view of the ocean on the way out

Non food break

Non food break

And smoothi!

And smoothie!

Dinner time [photo: @ninanyc]

Dinner time [photo: @ninanyc]

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