Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Big Sur, Golden State
Categories: Trips

The more I see of California the more I agree with its nickname.
We are almost back from our camping trip. I say almost because now we are at a Cafe in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We’ll be back in San Fran tonight.
The camping trip has been unpredictable, eventful and unfortunately a bit physically painful. Further details now.

Friday afternoon we left the city around 4:30 pm and headed to San Carlos’ REI store. We still had to get gas for our pocket rocket (stove), mosquito repellent, solar protection and buy food for the weekend.

Once all prepared we were on the road to Big Sur close to 6 pm, without a reservation and then knowing that we were going to arrive at night when all the parks closed half an hour after sunset.

The Cabrillo highway (Highway 1) south road was fun at first but foggy and slow when it got dark. The situation was not helping us, late campers. Of course, every single place was full when we got to the Big Sur busy area (Fernwood Resort, Big Sur campgrounds and cabins, etc) and the one or two places that had a cabin or room for us was 315$ a night or more! Yes, three hundred $$$, no typo here! Lol

We ended up driving to San Simeon, baptized by us like the Inn town, as there was one road with hotels after hotel, to our left and to our right side. Thanks heaven for motels!. When we checked in it was only 10:30 pm but it felt like 1 am.

Next day, rested and with a ready- to- find- any- camping- spot- mind we continued driving south and quickly found a nice site at San Simeon State Park (Washburn campground. They even had many open sites for us to choose. We also learnt about the after hours self- registration process (the yellow form) for the future. Really helpful, if you know you are going to be late.

All set and with a tent space secured we began moving around the zone on total vacation mode and went to the beach, photographed the elephant seals, stopped at several vista points for more pictures, were amazed at the Santa Lucia mountains, visited other parks like Andrew Molera and by sunset we came back and pitched our tent with a sweet and victorious smile on our faces.

We had a big fire, dinner and drinks but went to sleep early since by 10 pm again felt like 1am. The Washburn campground was dark, quiet and everyone was sleeping three hours after the sun was down. Very different to our Canadian backcountry camping where we stay awake and drinking until 3 to 5 am, being loud and waiting for the bear to show up to drink our sunscreen. 🙂

On Sunday, we packed after breakfast and drove north towards Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. On the way up we also stopped at a couple of places but could not go hiking since I woke up with a terrible back/neck pain due to my sleeping position during the night. Just when my dear partner started recovering from his foot injury I started moving like a lazy turtle. Bad luck but I was in such a good mood being closed to the sea that I didn’t care.

On the last day of the weekend we were pretty confident that finding an empty campground was not going to require a lot of searching so we could choose a site among the trees and not too far from the riverside at Pfeiffer.

We enjoyed again a warm night with a bright fire, a filling pasta dinner with wine and a great look of a starry sky among the high tree branches.

Next time soon? Yes. With a little more planning, just a little, so we can luckily get a place from the first night. But over all the weekend was so rewarding and relaxed. You can never regret get closer to nature.

And now I get to spend a couple of hours by the Carmel beach, sandy and empty.

The whole area is full with fancy vacation houses with three gardeners per house. Wow! They also have many of them for sale. The constructions are unique and they are quiet dream houses with names and all (The Echo, Mon Repos, Moondune). The town is lovely, clean and touristic.

Leave a Reply