Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur Coastline
Big Sur Coastline, California

Friday, September 5, 2014

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California

 Last week I drove up to Big Sur, California, to join the celebration for my niece's wedding. After driving endless hours on the I-5, I headed west on Hwy 46 which took me over to Cambria. The barren mountains on 46 were topped with clouds that gave them almost a purple glow.
 On the way up Hwy 1 towards Big Sur, it is nothing but curves and rugged coastline. Just outside of San Simeon, there is a rookery for Elephant Seals. I stopped to watch them, but they weren't moving much. Just the occasional wave and that was about it.
 The only seals on shores were juveniles that were molting, and their main purpose was just to lie there and grow new skin. I thought they were huge, but the docent  said they were only about 1/3 the size of an adult. In January, the Big Daddys come in to town and have their Beach Master competitions. A sight to see, or so I am told.
 Our three group campsites overlooked Sand Dollar Beach. One evening I walked down to the bluffs and shot these pictures of the sun setting over Sand Dollar Cove. A beautiful moment alone, in the quietness of an early evening.
  The setting sun turned the hillside redorange, but only for a few moments. The beaches were nearly empty, and the smell of sage and salt were in the air.
My sister Judy and her husband Tom joined me on long walks down to the ocean. The whole trip was totally awesome. I loved every minute; well almost every minute. I didn't exactly love the gopher burrowing under my tent in the middle of the night, or the pit toilets or the drunk guys arguing politics until 3 in the morning right outside my tent! But I did love them all when they were sober and happy and teasing me about shouting at them to shut up!

 The beaches are full of rocks, one of my favorite things. Rock sculptures led the way to Jade Cove, where the rocks shine green and blue in the sun. A giant treasure chest!
 A few hardy flowers bloom along the coast. The California Morning Glory, is a fragile white flower with purple hues that grows on a hardy vine. It was popping up everywhere on the bluffs and trails down to the beach.  
That would be me, sitting at the table, happy as can be.
Nick, my niece Michele and her son Mikah, Love you guys and wish you all the best.
 The morning of the wedding was absolutely perfect. It was pleasant weather, clear ocean views and stunning vistas. We walked as a group over to the bluff, and on the way I shot this view of the ocean. Amazing color and unending beauty.
My niece, Michele, coming down the trail with her dad, Tom, looking so absolutely gorgeous!
Michele and Nick, with Michele's son Mikah, getting ready to say their vows.
 A tearful moment, exchanging the rings.
 An awesome 4 piece Bluegrass band played during the wedding and also at the reception! My sister Judy and her husband Tom, looking mighty fine for the camera!
An old friend of the family, Craig, came up for the wedding and has a big smile for me in this picture. Love you Craig!
 Me and Tom and Judy, best of friends. Love you guys!
Michele looked so lovely in her wedding dress with her brilliant rainbow of flowers.
 
After 5 days in Big Sur, I finally headed home. I stooped in Ragged Pt for a cup of coffee, a moment of contemplation overlooking the water, and a very nice conversation with a man sitting next to me.
It took me 13 hours to get home and by the time I got in bed, I swore I would never travel again. After Ragged Point, I stopped at Hearst Memorial State Beach and went treasure hunting. That was really fun.
 Then I had to stop at Sebastian's and check out the general store. Took this cool picture of this old house, maybe a church, and when I got home,  noticed that Hearst Castle is up on the mountain behind the spire of the house. You might be able to see it if you are young and have good eyes.
 Two beautiful horses were roaming the meadow outside the house. This one came up to me and it was obvious he wanted something. I ran to my car and got an apple and he ate it right out of my hand. He had such big teeth and lips. After feeding the horse, I stopped in Cambria to buy succulents and drink coffee. After that I stopped 4 or 5 more times until I finally rolled in to my house about 11:30 pm. By midnight I was clean, warm and cozy, and well on my way to dreamland. Well that's the end of my story. Hope you are all well and happy. May God bless you and keep you and grant you your hearts desire. Susan Little

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sequoia National Park, California

 Several weeks ago, Janet and I went up to Sequoia National Park in California for a week of camping. It was totally fun and we saw some incredible things.
 Our first day in camp, this bold, juvenile bear decided he wanted to go fishing in the pools right below our campsite. A couple was down at the creek fishing when the bear came by. They ran like crazy up to our campsite and left all their fish and bait down on the rocks. That lady went ballistic, and started jumping up and down, screaming at the bear, and throwing sticks and rocks at the bear in order to keep him away from her fish. Eventually the bear left the area and she retrieved her fish. Later on that evening, the camp hosts told us never throw anything at a bear. Make a lot of noise, bang on the bear boxes, hit pots and pans, but don't throw anything! 
 Our campsite overlooked this wonderful creek, that had swimming holes, natural water slides and warm rocks to dry out on. I went swimming every day, and slowly, Janet joined in, laughing each time the cold water inched further up her body.
 I don't think I have ever seen a prettier spot than this place. I was so happy. Every time we got too hot, we walked down and dunked in one of the pools. So awesome.
 This is our friend, Louie with his sweet little puppy. He had this cool tent that rested on a cot, and he set it up down by the water. This picture is for you, Janet!
 One afternoon, we followed the creek upstream as far up as we could go. At the top, we found a huge swimming hole. That would be my friend Janet, who absolutely loves camping.
 That would be me, looking like a frog while swimming in the ice cold water. So refreshing!
 This tiny cluster of flowers was growing in the middle of a wild rose bush. The flowers are no more than a1/4 inch big. Such delicate beauty, only seen by a few.
 This is another friend of ours, David, who along with his mom, built this Tear Drop trailer from scratch. He used recycled wood he found at a job site, and vintage fixtures and dishes, to make this trailer a masterpiece. We noticed David's guitar leaning against the table, and with a little coaxing, he brought it out and played us some songs. Then me and Janet each took a turn, and then his mom started singing along with us. Great fun!
 One morning this sweet doe walked right up the hill into our campsite. I was sitting near the water and had my camera with me at the time. Lucky day!
 A huge fallen Sequoia tree in Crescent Meadow. To get an idea how big the tree is, look for Janet in her hat, standing at the base of the tree near its roots.
 We took a glorious hike around Crescent Meadow and I enjoyed every moment, even if it did tire me out. I am still recovering from 7 weeks of radiation therapy, and get very tired, but now, I am cancer free! Thank you Lord!
 On our walk around Crescent Meadow, we stopped to peek into this old cabin,  built inside of a fallen Sequoia tree. Tharp lived in this dark, rustic cabin for nearly 30 years, until Sequoia National Park was established in 1890.
 Immediately after leaving the cabin, we passed by this mother bear and two cubs, resting in the trees. It scared the daylights out of me, especially when families with little kids started crowding around. No one stepped off the trail, and the bears stayed under the trees. As soon as she opened her mouth,  I didn't need to be told twice and immediately left the scene.
 Looking up into the trees, and wondering what it would be like to live so long.
 On our hike out to the John Muir Grove of Sequoias, this baby snake popped its head out of a fallen tree trunk. I was pretty sure it was a rattler, and backed away. He never came out, so we passed by and I took this picture of him looking at me, while I was looking at him.
 I have always wanted to see the John Muir Grove of Sequoias, but somehow always ended up at the groves that were closer to the visitor center. On this trip, we took a hike out to the grove and couldn't believe how pretty it was. No fences telling us to keep out; just wide open forest like it must have been when Mr. Muir was alive. Well worth the hike.
 That is me, standing in the trunk of a living giant Sequoia Tree. Pretty amazing trees out there!
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
 I love flowers and found this one to be especially pretty.
My favorite swimming hole; happy memories, blissful thoughts.
 
One last look at lovely Sequoia National Park and a bee photobombing my picture!
May God be with you and bless you with peace, strength, rest and beauty. Susan Little 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stonewall Peak, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California

 On a trip to Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, my friend Janet and I encountered such beautiful wildflowers and greenery, even in the midst of the drought in southern California.
The roundtrip mileage is only 4 miles, and it is a fairly easy trail that is very well marked. The only drawback, the trail goes straight upward, all the way to the top! In the heat, that can be a little difficult. I brought my spray bottle and cooled down in the mist.
Here is Janet, about to be swallowed by a giant rock!
Along the way we had such gorgeous views of Lake Cuyamaca, valleys, purple mountains in the distance and a few trees.
 When you get towards the top of the peak, a stone staircase gives you the courage to keep going.
Windy at the top, much cooler and easy to climb.
A 360 degree view of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is the reward for those who push on and don't give up. Very windy at the top, but fun. We ate our lunch, sitting on a small bumpy ledge, and just basked in the view.
 This was my first time returning to the Laguna Mountains, after the 2007 wildfires burned through southern California. Many living things survived the siege and new growth is blooming everywhere. 
That would be me, a tired but happy hiker at the top of Stonewall Peak. I have had a rough go this last year, but as of this week, I am officially in remission,  a full-on, breast cancer survivor!!!!!
So happy, so grateful to God, so wonderfully looking forward to life.
The spectacular view of Lake Cuyamaca from the top of Stonewall Peak, in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in southern California.
 One last look at the Laguna Mountains, dead trees, huge boulders and a bit of green! God bless you all and may God give you the strength to survive!

Copyright©2009 Susan Little, thecampingqueen72@yahoo.com. All rights reserved. Use of photos requires written permission.