Pacific Coast Highway
We continued down US 1 and stopped at the standard stops like the Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. McWay Falls was pretty neat, unfortunately, we paid for parking here which was a mistake. It took forever to get in and out and then tripled our walk to what we wanted to actually see. There was the old remnants of Julia Pfeiffer Burns’ house which is an amazing place to have a house. The views were stunning even on a cloudy morning. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to hike down to the beach there and if you do there is a hefty $300 fine that come along with it. The only way to arrive at the beach would be to kayak to it which looks pretty challenging based on how to coast is shaped and how to waves pound into the rocks. Nearby the house was a camping spot that overlooks the ocean, called Saddle Rock Environmental Campground, unfortunately, they were all taken when we arrived, but it looks like the primo camping spot on the PCH. My friend Sara had stayed in a yurt along the PCH which we drove past and they looked pretty fantastic as well.
|Bixby Creek Bridge (I think - we got faked out once!)|
|Lovely wildflowers down the cliff.|
|We were sort of back from the steep cliff (Sorry mom!)|
|Bird catching the updraft|
|A view down the cliff|
|The remnants of the house, quite the location!|
Most of our drive down the PCH was cloudy, but that’s just that part of the coast but we did make a turn around one bend in the Big Sur area and all of a sudden there were magical beautiful blue skies. One of Ben’s desired stops was at a silent hermitage along US 1 Ben had read about the New Camaldoli Hermitage online a few months prior to our trip. As soon as we took a left off of US 1 the whole vibe was different up the hill. It was peaceful. It was quiet. It was serene. It was wonderful. The views from above were magnificent. We drove up the hill to take a better look, stopped in the gift shop, with their permission we popped into the chapel and got a tour of what a room there looks like. They recommended at least a three-day stay to fully get the benefit of the hermitage.
|Gratuitous Forester shot.|
|The view from the top of the Hermitage.|
|One of the cottages at the Hermitage|
|Ben being so patient with me and my picture taking!|
The next stop that I was amazingly excited about was towards the end of the chunk of highway that we were going to do. It was at the Elephant Seal Vista Point. Since we didn’t get to see many seals up close at Point Lobos I was super excited for the Elephant Seals. The best part of tourists is that they are almost always the indicator of where wildlife is. This was no exception. Everyone huddled at the end of the lookout meant lots of seals. We sat and watched them for quite a bit. There were a few that reminded us of Mirabelle, that silly little pup of ours, goofy throwing sand and smiling.
|The smiling one was a ham!|
|Animals that snuggle are the best.|
|This one was like Mirabelle - kept eating sand and throwing it around.|
|Elephant Seal Vista Point.|
Unfortunately for us the coastal camping situation was slim without reservations and there were not many National Forests nearby for us to disperse camp in nor was there much daylight left. So we ultimately decided to drive up to Fresno spend the night and head to Yosemite in the morning.