Big Sur, California.
It is so quiet here. In fact, the tranquility is so deep that even the sound of the wind feels deafening. Below us, the Pacific Coast Highway curves along the iconic Big Sur coastline; the deep blue of the Pacific sweeps up into a beautiful green turquoise as it washes up into a cove hidden beach. The PCH, normally traversed by tourists and other ocean lovers is all but abandoned due to multiple closures along the route from mudslides caused by winter rains. Up here at Prewitt Ridge, it means that we are the only ones here, maybe the only humans for miles.
We’ve set up camp near a burnt out tall tree, that looks more like an old tentacled alien. Woodpeckers and other birds have dimpled the branches and sides of the tree, giving the effect of a golf ball all over. Despite how much it has already been abused, the birds keep pecking away, sometimes fast like a jackhammer, sometimes slow like a lazy worker.
This is the second time we’ve set up camp in as many hours. Our #FOMO and choice of campsites sent us repacking when our first vista didn’t seem as breathtaking as another site we stumbled upon later. In fact, every site seems to have a million dollar view. We will later regret making this move since the ground is much harder here and sleep eludes us.
The road up to Prewitt Ridge is a dirt road that twists and turns up to the ridge. It’s not a difficult road when taken slowly, but it does have some slippery sections that may require more caution, especially given the sheer drop down the mountain in some turns.
After we’ve set up, the sun has already begun to set and the wind picks up. With nothing between us and the ocean breeze, we bundle up and tie down the tent even tighter to stop the buffeting. The campfire and dinner are made and cooked under heavy wind gusts. Once the burger meat is cooked, we quickly take everything inside and finish our meal inside the tent, sheltered from the wind for the most part. Some more reinforcement and extra padding to the tent help block out the wind completely.
The night passes peacefully, snacking and watching TV shows on our laptop, bundled in blankets, away from the world.
After lots of tossing and turning, I fall asleep on the hard and uneven ground. I wake up around 6am to the light and sounds of the birds. Giving up on sleep I sit outside with the hopes of reading or doing something, but I get lost just sitting, thinking, and watching the fog slowly fade away with the morning light.
After a breakfast hot dog, a lone hiker comes up from below us and apologizes for the intrusion before wandering off. We later tried to retrace the path he came from, but found that it ended into open wilderness.
We wander around the campsite some more, again finding no one else here except for an RV parked up in the distance.
Being away from the world without cell service or internet and having a beautiful view helps us slow down and just exist. I can hardly even bring myself to read the books we’ve brought; I just tend to just watch the ocean and veg out, looking at the trees, the grasses, the water, and listening to the sounds of the birds and wind.
When I’m hungry and snack on something; when my eyes get tired, I close them. I feel like one of my cats when I see them sitting outside in our backyard, chin up into the breeze, eyes closed.