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Big Sur, CA

You can't visit Monterey and not drive the scenic 17 miles through Pebble Beach. My favorite stop is the Lone Cypress. What a dramatic story you can imagine from its stand, alone atop the granite.

Since I plan to drive again along Rt 1, I want to stop and experience as much as possible. Even a drive through the beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea neighborhood with charming, quaint homes is enough to give me the feel of the area.

I am still determining where I will be sleeping tonight. However, I did find great parking on the street along the beach at Pacific Grove if I can't find a site at a campground. The successful experience from the last few days of finding places to spend the night gives me the confidence I will figure it out tonight as well. It does give me the relaxed feeling I want as I spend the day enjoying new places and amazing landscapes.

I enter Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. I am lucky to find a parking spot at the head trail of Point Lobos trail, so I hike for a while. I try to find parking at other head trails, with no luck. I continue my drive on Rt 1, enjoying the windy road and spectacular views.

My next destination is Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where I would like to hike and hope to find camping for tonight. Just before the entrance to the park, there is a sign indicating the campground is full, but it feels like that is a permanent sign, and it puzzles me. I asked the ranger at the entrance if they have any available sites for tonight. Guess what? Not only do they have one, I actually have four options to choose from. Lesson learned, always ask! What a fantastic choice I made! My site is along the Big Sur River, and the beautiful music of the flowing river is an exciting bonus. I can't wait to cook dinner and fall asleep to the sound of the river.

Since the two hikes I plan to do are right from the campground, I decided to save them for tomorrow morning. Now I am heading to see McWay Falls.

Oh, WOW, what a spectacular view! McWay Falls cascade gracefully into the ocean. How beautiful is the love story between the flow of the freshwater flowing into the salty sea. The sound is like nothing I have ever heard before, and I can't even find words to describe it.

The hard work that comes with living the life I live now always feels like nothing compared to the beautiful experience I get. Waking up to the song of the bluebirds and having my coffee on the edge of the Big Sur River is priceless.

I have a busy day ahead of me. By 7:30, I am hiking up the Valleyview Trail to Pfeiffer Falls. By 10:00, I am hiking up Buzzards Roost Trail. It is not an easy hike which is pretty much straight up. The hike is a loop, but if I do it again, I will do it as an "in and out" hike and stay to the left at the split. It is less steep and has a better view. What an incredible view you get at the top! It's absolutely worth the challenge. I have a 360-degree view of the ocean and mountains!

As I am traveling back north on Rt 1, there is one spot where many cars park on the side of the road. By now, I have also learned to stop and check things out. I LOVE the surprises I am blessed with on this journey—the Calla Lily Valley blooms along the river on its way to the ocean. What a fabulous sight!

I follow the lead again of others and stop at Garrapata State Park (another stop along Rt 1). Now, this is becoming my favorite spot. The waves are so huge here. They are crushing with such power onto the rocks, creating a beautiful white texture afloat the sea—the sound of triumph.

By 2:30, I had already hiked 9 miles. I am back at Point Lobos, trying my luck again with a parking spot. Success! So I hike Cypress shore trail. There is something unique and beautiful about the cypress trees that I have learned to admire.

I have about another two hours of sun to enjoy, so it is time to think about tonight...

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