When people think of California they think of sunny beaches, palm trees, surfers, and the soundtrack of a psychedelic beach rock song playing in the background. That is a pretty accurate description, but only of one small part of California. After I left La La Land and moved to the Bay Area, I came to know the moodier and significantly colder beaches of Northern California. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. The steel gray waters (and I’ve only ever seen the sea in that color up here) was hardly inviting and though I’ve been going to these beaches for over 10 years, I’ve only once ventured into the ocean in a swimsuit. But after spending a lot of time hiking up and down the coast, the rugged coastal bluffs shrouded in mist have become as quintessentially California to me as Hollywood.
These fragile coastal bluffs are prone to erosion and with the amount of rain we’ve been getting, the old California infrastructures just could not hold up against the landslides. The scenic highway down the coast is closed due to washed out bridges and we thought our favorite weekend getaway, Big Sur, is lost to us indefinitely. That is until our friends informed us of a backdoor entrance to the mountains above Big Sur. It turns out the back roads were just as beautiful as the famous High Way One, and we found the perfect campsite by the road that had an ocean view framed by the hills.
We picnicked on the beach while our friend went surfing, and we just lazed around all day with no agenda at all except to help Ellie with her rock collection. Sometimes I wonder why we bothered with toys at all when sand and rocks are all she needed to be happily entertained for hours. As the day got late and the wind turned colder, we headed back up the mountain and cooked a huge campfire feast while watching the sky turn pink and purple over the ocean. Sitting there next to the fire and looking up at the billions of stars in the night sky like our ancestors once did, I felt a sense of wonder and gratitude that our ancestors probably once felt thousands of years ago. It made me realize that while technology has made our lives so much easier, it’s by disconnecting from technology and doing something as primal has sitting around a fire with our friends that made me feel truly connected to the world around me.
For tips on camping with a baby, check out my Sierras post.