Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pork Chop Sandwiches at Earth's End

So, it's been a bit of a span since I last posted...what can I say? Spring is spinning to a close and there has been so much to see and so much to do.
Last Thursday, Ken and I decided to make use of the Big Sur hiking book that Santa stuffed in my stocking this past Christmas, so early that morning we decided to load ourselves into the car and head up Highway 1 to the Southern end of Big Sur.

I've many joys in my life and at the top of that list, I count anything that gives me the chance to ride along this particular roadway up the Northern California Coast. When it's beautiful (heck, it's always beautiful no matter the weather, but there are those days when this drive is more of a white-knuckle event than a pleasure cruise) it's some of the most awe inspiring landscape imaginable.
Anyhow, off we went enjoying the views and crisp air as we made our way up the coast. The first place that we stopped was just a hair north of the Monterey County line at Salmon Creek Falls (on the right) and hiked just a little over half a mile to the waterfall, which was pretty well visible from the highway as we hiked back down the trail. One thing that really struck me was that Ken was taking a shot of the waterfall from just short of where the trail was, but I decided to climb up onto one of the rocks and position myself front and center for the perfect photo op, and while it was pretty easy to navigate in through all of the various boulders and Ken was able to follow me, getting out was pretty much a puzzle for a few moments. It really proved to me how easily you can get stuck in the wilderness once you're off the marked trail.
Our second stop was a little farther north at Redwood Gulch, which from my perspective wasn't that spectacular although there were some magnificent redwoods. Redwood Gulch is actually a memorial spot, but I'm not sure what the history is so I won't venture to write much about it.
We continued on up the coast. I was really interested in stopping at a spot called Jade Beach, but we just couldn't seem to find the marker (I think it was just off the roadside, back where you had to walk up onto it to really figure out that it was there) so that didn't pan out. I did a little reading in my book and it's at the top of my list for adventurous treks and will be the first stop on our return north. Anyhow, it's basically a steep--think 150 foot serpentine trek--to a little rocky cove were you can actually find nephrite jade. In fact, I'm so interested in this particular spot that I've read quite a bit about it from several sources and I've learned that it's a pretty frightening trek and sweat producing, but anything that promises a dramatic sweeping panorama and an opportunity to hang on a narrow precipice above the jagged coast of the Pacific Ocean calls my name. Thus, it's no surprise that our picnic spot was perhaps the most amazing place that I've ever eaten lunch on a Thursday and quite possibly any other day.
Ken pulled the car off into a narrow turn-around parallel to the coast. There were no picnic tables, no walking paths, no real places to repose. In fact, there were really only two clumps of foliage--one in the shade and one in the sun and we chose the sunny spot to throw down our blanket and open our lunch sack. When I say that we were at Earth's edge, I mean that in the most literal sense--we laid upon our bellies, our chins in our hands and our heads hanging over the side of the cliff where straight down, perhaps 150 feet below, the Pacific raged upon the rough rocks below. It was quite fantastic--breathtakingly beautiful and as I remarked to Ken, had there been an earthquake at any point during our repast, we would have been tossed down the cliffs and onto the rocks--how thrilling is that? Our lunch was incredible--leftover pork chops on buttered bread (these were the sandwiches that my grandparents always had tucked in their cooler on a picnic), a container of curried chicken salad, a sleeve of crackers, a bag of cherries leftover from the farmer's market the previous weekend and a handful of potato chips, crumbs and all. A remarkable and yet unplanned lunch; a lunch tossed together from the scraps in the refrigerator just hours before.
It was quite a Thursday.

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