Our second stop took us to Andrew Molera State Park. I was recommended to the location by an old roommate in college, but never got a chance to visit. Since we were passing by and making good time we detoured onto a turnout near the entrance. An opening in the fence beckoned us to follow down the dirt path it guarded. We kindly obliged and fell into step. In the distance an enormous grove of towering Eucalyptus trees stretched toward the sun. We made our way to the giants and were greeted by fellow hikers on their return run. They were courteous and greeted us in passing, as we in turn gave them our “hello’s” and “good days”. As we followed a footpath our surroundings grew greener, lush with vegetation and a cool air that felt crisp on our skin and fresh in our lungs. We’d found Big Sur River. Our path ran parallel to the meandering current and I felt suddenly like I was in another world. It’s a rainforest, albeit a temperate and cooler one, but a rainforest nonetheless. I can only compare it to another rainforest I’d hiked in south Australia, where much like this area, it was pocketed with huge old-growth groves of mammoth like trees and a ragged coast beaten by giant waves. Yes, I had entered another world.
As we continued on our path I could see a growing light ahead of me where the trees refrained from growing and the sun again pressed its light upon us. The path ended abruptly. The Big Sur River cut across the sprawling land before us. It was no matter. We quickly removed our shoes and continued walking. As we waded across the water, I began to take in my surroundings. It was surreal, all of it. To my right bluffs rose out on the horizon as the river emptied itself into the sea. Ahead of me a sand spit deposited by the runoff provided land where we headed. To the left were rolling hills and meadows. We crossed the river at a shallow point and threw down our packs high on the shoreline once we’d reached the sand beam. The beach curved to the south along the shoreline stopping at a point a few miles away from us. We found ourselves in a lush cove. Here there were sunbathers and surfers alike, so we pressed onward in our search for seclusion. We found it a mile and a half later after scrambling over boulders and course rock that formed the basis of the beach to the south. I paid my price for it with bloody feet and bruised toes. Learn from my lesson, put your shoes back on after the river crossing. A segment of the cliff jutted out across the sand and into the ocean to our west. I climbed the outcropping to better my perspective on our location to find myself in a comfortable position. The porous rocks had been smoothed by the blowing wind and water from the rising tide to make natural formations in the shape of steps. I sat down on a larger area with its smooth surface forming a natural seat and backrest. Sharif followed and we soon found ourselves again basking in the sun and enjoying the empty coastline. I watched as elephant seals popped their heads up among the Giant Kelp forests just off shore. Things seem much bigger here.