LIVIN’ ON STILTS
Well hello there! Not sure anyone other than my Mother-in-Law noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks. I decided to take a vacation on my vacation. It’s not always easy to find the space to write about whats going on. It started to become a little mundane and I wasn’t feeling it. So, to my wonderfully supportive MIL and any one else that felt slighted by my lack of posting, I am sorry. We love you. Here is a recap of the last few weeks:
Tuesday, November 14th, Matt and I drove to Grants Pass, OR to visit with a long time family friend of mine. Her name is Florence, she has a son living with her named Peter, three lovely dogs, and some mini donkeys. I’m sure I hadn’t seen Peter since he was in diapers. Now, the 18 year old bearded man towered over me. He was very very sweet, as is his wonderful mother. They both welcomed us into their home, even though we kind of dropped in on them last minute. I was so happy to see Florence and catch up. She made us delicious soup and crusty bread. I hope we get another opportunity to spend some more time there in the future. The next day, Florence already at work, we packed up and got ready to go. Before leaving, Peter took us on an adventure around their property. Florence lives on around six acres of gorgeous Oregon land, butted up against more open BLM land. It was a super fun ride in his little off-road car, although I was white-knuckling the door handle, and with every right as we kind of “hit” a tree on the way back down. More like rolled into it, but nonetheless, I put my seatbelt on.
That same day, we officially made it back in to California. We spent the night in the middle of giant Redwoods not far from the border. Thursday, we drove to Big Lagoon, CA. We ended up staying two nights, not wanting to leave the gorgeous beach. We did a lot of walking and soaking up the warm beachy weather.
On Saturday, Nov 18th, we stumbled upon the Avenue of the Giants. We both knew we wanted to stay within the Redwoods again, so we found the only open camground in the center of the Avenue of the Giants, called Burlington. It was dark when we got there, so we made plans for the next day. With an early start, we drove back to the North entrance of the Avenue of the Giants and made every stop on the 32 mile drive. It’s so lovely someone, or a group of someones, put that attraction together. We did all the little walks and felt completely consumed by the prehistoric giant trees.
Monday and Tuesday were super boring and not really worth mentioning other than to say we banked a couple of free nights at some casinos. Wednesday, Nov 22nd, we drove through Fort Bragg and ended up camping at one of the state parks outside of the main town. On Thursday, we had Thanksgiving dinner. I found a small turkey breast (even though dark meat is the best) and roasted it with butter and fresh herbs. It was phenomenal! I can’t believe how well it turned out in our little oven, especially considering I have never done it before and didn’t have a thermometer to check the temp. I also made rosemary potatoes and yams, Brussel sprouts, stuffing, and we devoured a store-made apple pie. I even picked up olives and sweet baby gherkins to round off the meal.
We drove to Glass beach the next day. It was a pretty beach, but not worth going if you’re really looking for glass. That weekend we stayed pretty close to the beach, and by Monday, we were in San Francisco. Unfortunately, San Fran didn’t have any available camping. After a little exploring, we headed down to Santa Cruz, where we stayed at Brighton SP for two nights. Brighton was a beautiful campground on the cliffs of the Seacliff State Beach, where we found an old abandoned concrete ship at the end of a pier. It’s a little silly to say we “found” it as its in plain sight and super huge. Please forgive my terrible attempt at explaining this ship. Apparently, back in the day, a man had the idea to build concrete ships. Because of the war (can’t remember which one) and the need for all available steal, his dreams finally came true. One of the concrete ships was brought to this beach and set up as an event space. Within two seasons, the ship was bankrupt, so whomever was in charge left it there to rot away. At this point, the ship has been gutted. Looked more like a dirty bird haven than an event space to us. We didn’t get too close.
Thursday, Nov 30th, we headed into Monterey. We stayed at a veterans park for two nights. Monterey is so beautiful. I’ve only ever been here with cloudy weather, but it was all skies and sunny weather for us. Saturday, December 2nd, we headed to Big Sur. We were both in need of more Redwoods and some good hikes. It’s amazing camping in the off-season. We had no issue getting a spot at Big Sur Lodge Campground, a place that’s always been totally booked up when trying to go in the past. We did an eight and a half mile hike out of the Andrew Molera SP on Sunday. So much of the Pfeiffer Big Sur SP trails are closed because of I don’t even know exactly. Some of the closures were blamed on bad weather ruining the trails and I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the massive landslide the area had a while ago. Highway 1 is still closed at certain parts, but we didn’t have an issue getting to the campground from the north side. Although, this meant we have to backtrack to get around the closed highway and back up to the 101, it was worth it. The hike we did was pretty moderate, with a steep incline up what seems like a fire road. It’s completely exposed for the majority of the trail, and I wouldn’t want to find myself there in the dead of summer. At its peak, the trail splits off into a single track that follows along the bluffs of Pfeiffer beach. We experienced multiple terrains, had to take our shoes off to cross a very cold stream, and even found ourselves back in the forest among my beloved oaks for a stretch of the hike.
Today, we’re back in Monterey. Went to the gym and showered here, and now we’re figuring out where to go next! Here is an obscene amount of pictures from the last few weeks.
ariel + matt