Week 43, 2012: Big Sur

Almost a week late, but finally time for a new post :)

Oh, what a week it was! To begin with I decided to extend my sport repertoire with the gym, which I hit right away on Monday morning. Then a faster run on Tuesday morning followed by a treadmill run in the evening... and the same configuration on Thursday. On Friday I hit the gym to do back and biceps and the following day... my hamstrings were killing me. I guess that's what happens when you do deadlifts for the first time. And then, as usual, the best part of the week come on the weekend...

Andrew Molera State Park

This week I decided to go to the famously beautiful Big Sur. The ambitious plan was to get up at 6am Saturday morning, drive down there and do a run before joining my friend Jorge and his friends for a hike. Believe it or not, but I did really get up at 6am. On Saturday morning. Yeah, I know, California has a weird effect on me. I reached the park and at 9am was already out and about, just as planned.

I quickly hit the beach, which looked magnificent at this early hour. Then I run alone the waterfront, with a gentle upward slope and then completed the loop slightly more inland. It was very hot so I had to drink a lot.

The plan was to then do the East Molera trail, which was going up to around 350m. I decided to finish the loop via a slightly different route. I should hit a bridge shortly but the bridge was not there, so I had to go to the following one, quite a bit further... only to realize that it was also missing. By that time I had enough and decided to cross the river on foot. It was very shallow so it was not a challenge, but I was glad I had good socks as I was angle deep in water.

The way to the top was surprisingly difficult, partly due to a fairly substantial slope and partly due to increasing heat. As I lost some time on my river-crossing adventure and my appointment with Jorge was approaching, I had to give up getting all the way to the top and turned around a bit earlier. Still, all in all, a very nice run!

(Click any of the photos for more pictures; photos in different sections lead to different albums, so be sure to explore it all ;)

Spanish Bay Hike

I was running late so then a quick drive to the motel in Monterey, a quick shower there and driving to meet Jorge and 4 of his friends. Together we set off towards the Spanish Bay. The hike itself was fairly short, not very demanding and in comparison with Andrew Molera, well, frankly, not very exciting :). But the company was excellent and I had a lot of fun chatting with others.

As planned we ended the hike in a golf resort on the coast, where we saw the sunset (magnificent), enjoyed our time outside next to a fireplace (very cozy) and had some food (very good, especially that in all the haste I had to skip lunch). All in all very pleasant.

In the end we took a cab home and were taken in a minibus by the most awesome taxi driver I ever saw ;). The guy had a laser gun and plenty of plush toys in his car and was playing some Halloween'ish music... impossible to describe but quite an experience :D

Cruising Big Sur

Unfortunately the night following this great day was not so great for me: my motel had extra feature that was not advertised anywhere: bedbugs. The f**@!$ gave me a sleepless night and at times I though I'd go crazy, both because of the itching and the fact that I could not sleep even though I was so very tired.

In the morning I went to fetch Jorge and together we drove towards Big Sur. We passed the Point Sur Lighthouse and Bixby Bridge, making our first stop in the Big Sur bakery. It was recommended to us by Jorge's friends who told us we can get awesome pancakes there. Oh boy, was I looking forward to those pancakes! Unfortunately I was in for a disappointment as they only served them for brunch, which was still few hours away. Oh well...

After breakfast we continued towards Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The first landmark there was the famous McWay waterfall; unfortunately I completely failed to make any decent photos of it, so to appreciate its beauty you better head to the linked Wikipedia page ;). The fall was just next to the highway so it was just the beginning of our agenda. However, upon consulting the map we realized that many trails are closed. Bummer. Especially that we already paid for parking ;)

After a short debate we decided to head back and go to the nearby Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park... only to discover that the big welcome center is closed and so are some of the trails. It wasn't our lucky day, it seemed.

We once again switched destinations and drove to the Garrapata State Park, on the way stopping in the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Garrapata State Park

Garrapata is not a very big park. There is essentially one loop (around 10K) and that's what we were planning to do. I guess that was not our lucky day, as upon reaching the park we learned that part of the loop is closed. Still, there was not much else we could do so we just decided to go ahead and do what we could. As it turned out, nothing was closed and we could do the full loop, no problem; I wonder whether it was similar in the previous parks that we gave up on...

The first part of the hike was very pleasant, through a forest, with plenty of redwoods around. I also saw some of them in Andrew Molera, but there aren't many there.

The second part of the hike was out in the open, climbing up the hill. On top we reached "the bench", which was a perfect place for a lunch break. We could enjoy the view of the ocean covered with fog (photo below, on the left).

Then a quick descent and we hit the beach, climbing some rocks. That's how I made the last photo, on the right; probably a personal favorite of mine for the whole collection.

All righty, that's probably the longest post ever ;), so time to wrap it up :). More to come. I'm not writing much about not-running-related-stuff, but that's because there's not much to tell. Hope that'll change soon. Stay tuned :)


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