Committed to my goal of pursuing adventure, a few weeks ago, I took advantage of the first 3-day weekend of the year by exploring the Ventana Wilderness, near Big Sur State Park. It was my first solo camping trip, and it didn’t disappoint. I was so excited for the unknown of what was in store that I found myself constantly quoting Ellie from the animated Disney/Pixar movie “Up,” saying, “Adventure is out there!”
A short 150 mile drive south of San Francisco brought me to Big Sur State Park. The drive along the coastal highway, heading to Big Sur, was nothing short of breathtaking. The ocean and cliff views looked like every picture and movie I’ve ever seen showcasing Hawaii, and I had to pull over to take it all in. I was in an entirely different world just a couple of hours from the city.
When I made it to Big Sur, the Ranger told me all the campsites were full, because of the 3-day weekend, and suggested I try finding a site in the Wilderness. That sounded like just the kind of adventure I was up for… spontaneous and steadily unfolding minute by minute. I followed the map the Ranger gave me. In less than half an hour, I found a campsite, miles into the Wilderness, on the edge of a huge forest ridge cliff. It was glorious!
I got lots of swanky, new camping, hiking, and backpacking gear for Christmas, including a top-of-the-line, super warm sleeping bag. I was itching to use everything for the first time. I quickly set up my tent with all of my gear and supplies inside before sunset. Before going to sleep, I took time to admire the stars in the pitch black sky, while enjoying a warm cup of peppermint tea, beside a small fire. It was the perfect way to end the evening. After all, I had a big day ahead of me… exploring the wilderness.
I woke the next morning, very early, to the sounds of nature. Birds were singing, chirping and calling out their “good morning greetings.” I quickly packed up my campsite, made breakfast with the little camping stove I borrowed from my co-worker, and then set off on a hike into the forest.
There were 2 marked trails by my campsite, and since I couldn’t choose which to do, I made a plan to keep track of time and do both. First, I hiked down among the majestic redwood trees. They were huge, and I found such peace and calm in their shade and shadows. I took in every second of the sights, sounds, and clean smells of the pure outdoors. I was in a slice of nature’s perfection. I came across several different bird species and walked my way down by rivers. After that, I hiked up to the second trail that ran along a forest ridge, with the most magnificent views of endless trees for as far as the eye can see. It was a good day.
I made it back to my car by late afternoon and headed out of the forest, hoping to catch the sun setting along the coast and cliffs, as I drove towards home. It was an amazing couple of days. Taking a moment alone with nature is just what I needed to refresh and restore my mind and spirit, after months and months of keeping an extremely busy schedule.
Here’s hoping you find something which does the same for you. Remember Ellie from “Up.” “Adventure is out there!”
Never stop exploring!