Beattys go Coastal - Family Trip 2014 - Day Two - Big Sur
"At dawn its majesty is almost painful to behold. The same prehistoric look. The look of always. Nature smiling at herself in the mirror of eternity."
- Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch
"...[The children] had also skies of pure azure and walls of fog moving in and out of the canyons with invisible feet, hills in winter of emerald green and in summer mountain upon mountain of pure gold. They had even more, for there was ever the unfathomable silence of the forest, the blazing immensity of the Pacific, days drenched with sun and nights spangled with stars and -- 'Oh Daddy, come quick, see the moon, it's lying in the pool!''
- Miller, Big Sur
Another glorious day in Big Sur! We woke up to Bella running down from their site to visit us and hang out with the babies. Bella, the baby whisperer, is so fun to have around toting the little ones to and fro, reading to them and tumbling about with them, hoisting them into the playpen and out again, making them laugh. Her presence made our camping life yet brighter! They had arrived in camp after a loooonggg day of driving after spending the night somewhere in Nevada, around midnight they were wondering, have we passed it? Winding up or down Hwy 1 in the middle of the night, you are lost: everything seems like nowhere and everywhere at once. Waking up, though, you feel found. The sparkling Pacific down below, reaching her waving arms as far as the eye can see, your tent squarely hitched to the foggy bluff, the calls of birds and the hopping presence of cliffside bunnies and squirrels eager to peek into your food bags, brewing coffee in the french press and holding gleeful morning babies. Feels like home.
I cooked us all scrambled eggs in camp and we made a plan for the day.
First up: a redwood hike through Lime Kiln Park.
I want to come back and camp here sometime! It's a pretty little coastal gem, campsites tucked into the redwoods along an enchanting path that curves up into the canyon over little wooden footbridges.
Unprompted, Bella exclaimed, "Oh! Are these redwoods? Because that clover looks just like what I saw up in the redwoods." Sure enough, that's redwood sorrel, you little naturalist!
So nice to be somewhere so green and alive, moist and verdant.
Up in the canyon are the ruins of four old lime kilns from the late 1800s. Tucked away into one of the steepest canyons of the Pacific coast, these kilns produced barrels full of powdered lime that was shipped out of the tiny cove to Monterey and San Francisco in the 1880s. The operations were hard on the surrounding redwoods, but over a century of relative peace and these strong woods flourish.
Trees are growing from the tops of the old steel kilns. Wonder what this will look like in a hundred more years?
being forest monsters...
Next we took a little spur to a pretty waterfall off Hare Creek. There we had our sandwiches and splashed around in the water a bit before heading back down the trail.
I know someday I will desperately miss hiking with a little papoose. Life, camping, exploring....might be a little easier when babes are grown, but it could not be any sweeter.
Just walk across under Hwy 1 and follow the creek down to her big glorious source: another beach day!
At Lime Kiln it's a gravelly beach and there were bright blue jellyfish things washing up with each wave which the kids collected in bucket and then tossed back in for a brilliant cobalt-blue surfshow. I researched a bit at home and found out they are called By-the-wind-sailors (Velella Velella) of the order Siphonophora, carnivorous hydrozoa that eat through tiny mouths on the undersides of their bellies. The angle of their little sails tells which direction they're heading, where they'll wash up. Pretty cool little creatures.
Wish I would've gotten a better picture of them, sometimes there would be fifty or so of them gleaming their brilliant blue along the line of the tide. All the kids found them fascinating.
In fact, Bella wants to be a marine biologist someday and she carefully examined many pieces of flotsam and jetsam, showing them to Toot, admiring them, and adorning sandcastles with them as flags.
"Every creature, every object, every place has its own ambiance. " - Miller, Big Sur
and beach men.
"I see my children set against an eternal background. They are not even my children any longer, but just children, children of the earth."
-Miller, Big Sur
Back at camp, Lucy just wanted to tromp around in daddy's shoes. We got ready for the cooler night and I started working on the group dinner: my lentils and brown rice meal like I made last year.
Just like last year, Joey helped me grill up the flatbreads, and taught the kids a little about yeast, flour and baking while he was at it. And only a couple fell in and got charred ;) And we ate them anyway.
The best part of camping is sitting around after dinner, wearing beanies and roasting marshmallows, bouncing babies on your lap, perhaps cracking open a cold beer, telling stories and laughing, stoking the fire, being together.
Bella wanted to try a pony tail in Lucy's hair. Our little model:
Addie and Art arrived shortly before nightfall. It was so exciting to see them roll in with little Utah, everyone in good spirits and ready to get cracking. Mikie and Marisa would arrive in the middle of the night as well (with some creepy 1:30 a.m. flashlights bouncing around the tents and loud whisper action). And then we were complete!
"And ever the sea receded. Moon drag. To the west, new land, new figures of earth. Dreamers, outlaws, forerunners. Advancing toward the other world of long ago and far away, the world of yesterday and tomorrow. The world within the world."
-Miller, Big Sur
Sweet dreams my babes. I hope this is the stuff your future dreams are made of.