Discovery - July 11

Entry from the 2020 Travel Stories: Discovery

Day: 1

Miles: 193mi

Places: Morro Bay, CA

Cambria, CA

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Felton, CA

The first full day of the adventure began close to home, only a few hours north in Morro Bay, CA.  There I walked the beach and found a lot of sand dollars, crabs, and seashells.  Early in the journey I had not figured out the pacing of my trip or what my goal and intent was, so I was just exploring aimlessly hoping to spark some creativity. This journey had a purpose, and I needed to discover what that was.

Sand dollar in Morro Bay, CA

As I walked with the sand between my toes, I noticed all the sand dollars collected on the beach. Some were closer to the water, some farther away, with the distinguishable patterning more and less prominent on each one. The pattern was not quite symmetrical, yet it repeated perfectly on every sand dollar. As I thought about this, I saw a clam whose meat had been snatched by a seagull, presumably.  The shape reminded me of lungs, as my own felt the freshness around me.  It filled me with hope and calm.

Clam in Morro Bay, CA

As I travelled further I noticed I was not alone. People passed me left and right, all encumbered with clumsy conversations or rushed schedules. Thankful for my open journey, I returned to my car in a now full parking lot and drove north.

I continued north, quickly realizing that my hasty departure had caused me to forget a number of necessary items.  I stopped about 20 miles north for groceries, and then another 20 miles north for camping supplies.  

Finally I was ready to make some real progress, and drove up thru Big Sur to Redwoods State Park, where I would camp for the evening.

Morro Bay, CA
Morro Bay, CA

The drive was steady and beautiful.  I drove in near silence, with the sun roof open soaking in the season.  In my few years in California I had never ventured far north.  This was the farthest I had had gone, and I began to begrudge the years of exploration I had squandered.  These spaces were breathtaking, moving from a beach up into the mountains to the cliffs of Big Sur. I couldn’t believe the changes in scale I was seeing move so quickly by, and was reminded as to why I cherish movement and travel and exploration.  The sense of spatial awareness was overwhelming, but welcome.  

Coastal highway in Big Sur, CA
Coastal highway in Big Sur, CA

There were beaches that were so close to the road, I felt the tide might wash between the lanes.  And then only miles away the beach was at the base of a monstrous cliff.  The ocean was speckled with rocks undulating from the surface. I had left the arid climate of Southern California.  The hay like grass that lined the roads was replaced with trees larger than life, who had observed our explorations for thousands of years.

Coastal highway overlook in Big Sur, CA
Coastal viewpoint in Big Sur, CA

After taking in the views I returned to my car and drove to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, where I camped that evening.

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