Big Sur Gone Wild - Beattys on the Coast Days Three and Four
So here we are, Monday morning at Kirk Creek, Big Sur. On a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and all the Beatty siblings and their families together now, along with Pops. Those that had to work over the weekend have arrived during the night, setting up camp in the dark to the mystical sound of the ocean's breath. Some of us slept, others bleery eyed, and all of us appreciating some nice camp brewed coffee.
Good morning Polly and Scout, Youngest Beatty campers.
This glorious day we were all headed north to our next camping spot in Big Sur. We stopped by Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park to take in the view of the iconic McWay Falls. (where Darin and I saw the condor fly a little over a year ago, when Lucy was ten months old and I was pregnant with Polly but didn't know it yet.)
I think Big Sur will always be a special place for our little family.
But it truly is so fun to come back here with the whole family.
Which leads us to our next destination, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: Group Site A. I didn't know it when I made reservations but you actually park right along Hwy 1 just south of Fernwood and walk in across a little wooden footbridge. You come up through a path between redwoods and then this big clearing opens up with multiple picnic tables, cleared spots for tents, a big firepit, trash bins and a bathroom up on the knoll. It was like our own personal village! We all wanted to stay longer.
All ours, baby!
Claiming spots, logistics: close to the river, or close to the bathroom? How close do you want to be to the babies? Shade vs. Sun. Campfire proximity for late nights. It's all very strategic.
All the Beatty Girl cousins: Bella, Lucinda, Polly and Scout.
And some Beatty boys rambling around too!
Our little village:
I often found myself gazing around, while I nursed my baby in a camp chair or tromped back from the bathroom or filled a pot with water, whatever, and thinking, this is how it ought to be. Right in the midst of a hub of familial activity: someone taking a little walk down the stream, someone reading near the firepit, someone playing peek a boo with babies, two or three people in intense conversation. I'm a big believer in alone time and personal space, but I also think the communal life is so beneficial for the spirit. It just felt so pleasant and comfortable to be right next door to everyone I love under this beautiful canopy of trees. I came back with big ideas to plan out some kind of communal living space that some of us siblings and friends could eventually build together, including places to be along, and places to be together. Places to work together, and play, and cook. Individual homes for individual families, but connected by a network of footpaths and a central plaza like in the old Mexican haciendas. Cars would all be parked on the outskirts, preferably across a little wooden bridge, so that you know you are entering a special space as you walk into the village.
That night we dined at Fernwood. Joey and Emily were the first ones in our family to stay there, probably about six years ago. Darin and I went there in 2009 and have stayed there a few times since. I was so excited to show this place, so dear to me, to my whole family. I knew Art would love the bar, and that Amy would love the rustic charm of it all. I only wish we could have stayed longer so lthe kids could have all played ping pong out back, and we could have enjoyed the outdoor fireplace.
I have to take a photo like this on every trip.
How many high chairs have you got?
Polly LOVEs to pretend to eat big-people food.
My Fernwood dream came true!
I like to think it's all familiar to her.
(although I have to say, looking at old pictures, it used to be a lot more picturesque out back, no more begonias, no mermaid, only one painted rock...what happened?)
Next morning we were camp's earliest risers.
At least that's what we thought until these two came running back up the trail. Okay one-uppers! ;)
A visit to the water's edge, and Polly practices crawling. She's a quick one, and determined!
Mikie taught Lucy the joy of the fist bump.
We got ready to hike the loop beyond the group sites, back across Hwy 1, and on up into the redwoods in the state park.
This is the pretty setting that our path takes us through.
And after you cross back over the road, you can stop at the lodge for ice cream cones.
We hiked up to Pfeiffer Falls; both Darin and I soon had sleeping babies on our bodies. It was a beautiful hike and felt great to be walking with my baby close to my chest, breathing rhythmically as we climbed up the redwood canyon. Unfortunately Big Sur in general (and especially this hike) was super busy the whole time we were there, which I have never encountered before. My memories of this particular hike are clouded by tourists huffing and puffing, trying to be funny, "are we there yet?" type of stuff and scolding their kids. Oh well, it's a free country. It was kind of fun to build a little comraderie with my fellow trail blazers, but I secretly prefer a much lonelier hike.
Amy and Oey up at the falls. I probably should've clambered that last little steep bit to go dip into the water a bit. As cool and misty as Big Sur was on the valley floor, you get up into the sun and you are suddenly very sweaty!
home again, home again....to our camp across the woods.
After we got back to camp and prepared to head to the beach, we discovered that a window in Papa's car had been broken into and Darin's (very old model) ipod stolen sometime during the night before. It was a disturbing feeling, and Mikie and Marisa very kindly took on the responsibility of filing a report with the park ranger and figuring out a way for us to park our cars inside the day use lot of the state park rather than right along Hwy 1.
The rest of us headed down to Pfeiffer Beach to shake off the bad vibes those thieves might have struck in our hearts.
What better place to let it all wash away?
I was obsessed all day with Amy's dress. It made for perfect beach romping.
The waves were crystal clear gorgeous. The babies were content, the sand was soft and warm, and there were lots of rocks to explore and flotsam to examine.
Mamas at the ocean.
Emily pointed out that it just feels somehow right, to be near the ocean when you are a mother. I think these lyrics by Bjork have something to say about that:
"Oceania " is a haunting song that Darin had put on a mix CD for me on that trip when I was pregnant with Lucy and didn't know it yet, a song that would echo in my head all through my pregnancy, and played on my birth playlist as I labored. My births and babies have always felt very connected to water and the ocean.
Staying up late telling ghost stories by campfire is a must.
Much more fun (and mishaps) await us tomorrow! So turn out your lantern, snuggle your babe, and get a good night's sleep; may the raccoons leave your cooler latched and the bluejays not squawk too loud at daybreak ;)