“Out yonder they may curse, revile, and torture one another, defile all the human instincts (if it were in their power), but here, no, here, it is unthinkable, here there is abiding peace, the peace of God, and the serene security created by a handful of good neighbors living at one with the creature world” – Henry Miller
I still look forward to lighting a fire every morning when I wake up, even though I’m now climbing out of bed at home, feet touching cool hardwood floors and the soft sound of the oscillating fan cooing from the corner. I miss making a breakfast fire. I miss chasing the ballsy little bluejays away from our picnic table. I miss the comfort of being surrounded by hundreds of years of redwood trees.
I know Big Sur misses me too.
I had reserved our campsite back in February, as a gift to Mike for his birthday. Pfeiffer Campground fills up at the blink of an eye, and I was lucky to get three consecutive nights for us at an awesome secluded site. We’d been looking forward to it ever since.
I knew when I met Mike that he had a deep appreciation for the natural beauty in the world, the untouched. I knew I could never truly love a man who didn’t love himself when he was in the wilderness. My heart swelled at how happy he was in Big Sur.
As usual I overpacked on food. Delicious red chili, cured meats and hard cheeses, breakfasts fit for a lumberjack, enormous steaks, and of course some good ol’ fashioned American hot dogs! One of my favorite parts about camping is how incredibly good even the most simple foods taste when cooked over an open fire. There’s nothing better. I mean, c’mon, look at this:
Each morning, we gorged on a mountain breakfast of cheddar-jalapeno sausage, thick cut bacon, and sunny-side-up eggs with toast. Our bellies were completely happy until dinner, so that gave us quite enough time every afternoon to work it off in a series of gorgeous hikes.
The first adventure was a climb to a nearby waterfall and it was a killer – five miles later we were sweating buckets. We rewarded ourselves by sharing a Mexican coke from the shop up by the road……which of course became Makers-and-Coke as soon as we got back to camp.
And just as the booze was cracked open, so came the bocci ball! Mike was phenomenal. Perhaps a bit unsportsmanlike, but…..phenomenal. I played poorly and I absolutely blame the whisky and sore muscles.
Win or lose, we both got steak & ‘taters.
The next day started out cold and wet. A doe and her two tiny speckled fawns bid us good morning as they passed on their way to some adventure. We gulped down steaming mugs of coffee, shaking off the damp and the chill.
A while later, we took a long walk through meadows and chaparral, crossing a stream with our bare little toes gripping every slippery stone, and finally dirt gave way to sand as we reached the sea. Big Sur is known in part for it’s gorgeous coastline. Big ol’ cliffs and mammoth rocks that the wild ocean crashes upon. Everywhere you look, frothy white water burst like a confetti cracker on New Years Eve.
Coated in salt with wind-whipped hair, we got back in the car to head on home to camp. But wait! What’s that? Another gorgeous turn-out with a gorgeous view of the ocean?
We had to pull over. And we had to pull out a bottle of wine too.
After a few solo cups of vino and tippin’ some to the little tombstone we found beneath our feet, we figured we should probably class it up a little and take our happy hour to a more tangible establishment. Just our luck that Nepenthe was a few hundred feet away! I didn’t know much about Nepenthe until after we got back to civilization and cell phone service, but apparently we had stumbled upon quite the hotspot in the redwoods. And yes, they make a mean Manhattan.
Our final day was quick and clean, like ripping off a bandaid. Everything was neatly packed and ready to go before most of the campground had yet to stumble out of their tents. We said our goodbyes, silently.
Big Sur will see us again, and soon. Until then there is enough serenity and joy in our hearts to keep the memory alive.