Oct 122012

The last time we went up to SF, we had originally planned to take the scenic Highway 1 route down the coast, but we ran out of time.  This time we decided to break it up into two days to get down which is definitely the right choice.  It’s just too long to do it in one day and you end up just driving down the road instead of stopping to take in all the gorgeous scenic points and hikes.

We camped for one night at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is on the north end of Big Sur.  The campground is really gorgeous and if you can get into the lower number campsites (1-50), they are among a grove of coast redwood trees.  Absolutely breathtaking.  When we drove into the campsite and passed by that first section, we were stunned into silence.  Like out of a movie.  Of course all of those had already been reserved so we ended up in campsite 218 which was nice since it was a little more isolated and had some good trees around it.  We didn’t bother to bring the camp stove for one night so we opted to check out the Big Sur Bakery which is known for pizza.  I saw it on Yelp and the local state park newsletter so off we went.  We got there and oops, turns out it’s a nice restaurant with cloth napkins and candlelight and all.  We definitely showed up in our zip off pants and hiking shoes.  Oh well, I’m sure it happens quite often.  It was a fancy camping dinner complete with glasses of red wine!  Very tasty though the pizza could have been seasoned better.

Luxury Camping Dinner

The next morning we set off on a hiking trail called Buzzard’s Roost that goes through some redwood groves and has views at the top.  It was really convenient since the trailhead started right within our campground.  We chose a relatively short one since with my knee injury, I didn’t want to push it.  What a beautiful hike!  We barely saw anyone on the trail.  That’s the nice thing about Big Sur—most people just drive through and don’t bother with the hiking so it’s not as crowded as the trails in Sequoia or Yosemite.  The redwood groves were fantastic and we saw some cool things along the way.

Sun-Dappled Redwood Grove

Believe it or not, I spotted these on the side of a redwood and turns out there were a bunch of shells that were shed by bees!  At least, I think they were bees?  These were just empty see through shells that were the result of molting.

Shells Leftover From Bees Molting

These trees were all over the top of the hike.  They were so fascinating with the peeling and curling red bark, it was such an extreme contrast of colors with the red and green.  It was like they were shedding their skin like the bees.  A quick search reveals that these are madrone trees, native to the western coast of North America.

Amazing Curling Red Bark on Madrone Tree

At the top of the hike, we were greeted with a blanket of fog on the ocean side, so I’m not sure if there was an ocean view on that side.  But we did get a nice view of the canyons and mountains behind us.

View of Santa Lucia Mountains from Buzzards Roost

It was such a nice, calm start to our day that I wish we could start every morning with such a beautiful hike!  What happy people we would be then, right?  We were tremendously envious of all the isolated, gorgeous homes along the cliffs of Big Sur.  One day…

Jul 112012

Less than 24 hours after I arrived home from my 4 month trip, I set off on a 5 day camping trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with my mom and sister.  They had already planned the trip and I happened to book a flight home that landed the day before they left.  I was exhausted, but I don’t get to see my mom and sis a lot (I had lived in NY and mom is in LA and sis is in DC), so of course I went.  We grew up camping every year as children, but this would be the first time the Lin ladies went camping on their own.  Not to separate gender roles, but usually the men set up the tent and start the fires!  We almost got into major trouble because my sis and I had both checked the weather in Sequoia and weatherchannel.com had listed it at high of 90, low of 65.  Of course, the morning we leave, Mike checks the weather as well and for some reason there was a 20 degree swing and showed high of 70, low of 45!  We were literally starting the car!  So I ran into the house and threw together 3 sets of winter clothes/long underwear into a bag and put it in the car.  Whew!  It really was freezing at night and we wore all the winter clothes bundled up in the non-warm sleeping bags we brought.

Camping in the Trees

I’m glad to report though that tent set up was a breeze and I’ve watched Mike start fires so many times that it was pretty easy for me to get it going as well.  We only saw one other all-female group so we’re pretty proud of ourselves!  We grilled our fancy dinner the first night—kalbi (Korean BBQ short ribs) and ribeye steak with zucchini and corn—and made s’mores.


I Like Mine Burned, Sis Likes Hers Melty and “Perfectly Toasty”

After packing so minimally for the last 4 months, I definitely got on my mom and sister’s case for bringing so much stuff!  We could barely fit everything in the car for a 5 day trip!!  Even though I had jet lag the first few days, I had a ton of fun and it was nice to spend time with my fam.  I was really inspired by all the quotes from John Muir in the Giant Forest Museum and Visitor Centers.  The John Muir trail looks amazing—maybe one day Mike and I can do it.  It runs for 211 miles along the Sierra Nevada range in California, starting in Yosemite and going until Mount Whitney.  It’s a backpacking trek and although you can do it in one week, most guides recommend going longer so you can enjoy layover days and take in the scenery.  Any takers?

Sequoia posts:

Giant Trees Galore

Cave Exploration


Meadows–the best views

Rocks and Waterfalls


 July 11, 2012  Posted by at 12:48 am Attractions, California, Sequoia Tagged with: , , , ,  2 Responses »