Sunday, December 25, 2011

A California Christmas

Oh grand sombraro tree. You dazzle us with your twinkling lights and we bask in the shade of your brim.

A Holiday Drive South on Coastal Highway 1


Fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean. Not a recommended trip for people who get car sick or suffer motion sickness. The roads are very curvaceous and wind back and forth along the shore.

Bixby Creek Bridge
Bixby Bridge is a reinforced concrete span bridge constructed in the early1930s.

 A concrete bridge next to the sea had a lower construction cost and lower maintenance costs than its steel bridge counterpart.  The sea air would cause steel to have expensive ongoing maintenance and painting. 

A concrete bridge also echoed the colour composition of the natural rock cliff formations in the area.

Steve stands and surveys his domain. It is good this land.
 He is pleased.

McWay Falls, California's Only Coastal Waterfall - Julia Pfieffer State Park

We were looking to do a hike in the Big Sur area.  Big Sur is not a town it is literally the name of the massively spread out area and the community sparsely spread out throughout it. Steve checked online for reviews of hikes in the area we would be driving through. The hike with the best review on the hiking blog he found was a short, easy hike, to McWay Falls, California's only coastal waterfall.

Exciting! A waterfall that runs off the continent into the ocean itself!

 The tunnel under the road towards the coast builds up the suspense of the epic waterfall we are about to behold.

It's unsafe and illegal to climb anywhere in this area. Because the cliffs are unstable, attempts to climb down to the beach or other areas may result in injury or death or risk the lives of others in rescue operations.

Sometimes huge "sleeper" waves hit the shore, sweeping away everything in their path.

On Aprirl 20, 1983, there was a massive landslide.  Highway 1 was closed for almost a whole year for reconstruction. Eight million cubic yards of dirt and rock were pushed into the ocean below the road to stabilize the cliffs.

Ocean currents carried the dirt from the slide south, creating a beach at the foot of McWay Falls and in many coves further south.

Unstable cliffs and the only costal waterfall runs onto a beach? 
This is going to be epic. I bet the waterfall is so powerful and impressive it has made the land around it unstable.

Uh...what? 
 Is that it? Isn't that just run off from a storm or something?

Nope, after searching the short path for a more impressive sight we were forced to come to the conclusion that this is McWay Falls, California's only coastal waterfall.
 There it is. In all its tiny disappointing glory.


Maybe the waterfall is more impressive with the colour filter setting on the camera.

That would be a no.

The label of California's Only Coastal Waterfall may sound temping and exciting in tour books (or internet hiking blogs). Don't fall for it though. Go find a run off pipeline and imagine it running into the ocean. 
What you just imagined is more exciting than reality. 

You would be better off entertaining yourself with shadow puppets.

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