Yes sir, Big Sur! It’s an area of nearly one hundred miles on the Pacific Coast Highway that clings to the mountainside, a guardrail away from the unaware plummeting hundreds of feet and meeting their maker.
Returning to Big Sur today, we have California Dreamin’ memories of hiking its big three state parks with their majestic redwoods thanks to the state protection, growth-inducing coastal mist, and temperate climate. (Click on each name for these blogs – Andrew Molera, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, and Pfeiffer Big Sur.)
Fearlessly, Hannah has driven the first 24 miles of the PCH’s winding, cliffhanging two lane road with 15 mph hairpins thrown in for good measure. Pulling into the middle-of-nowhere park entrance of Limekiln State Park in Big Sur, I think this has got to be the Siberia for California State Park rangers. Paying a mere $10 to hike their trails, we are drawn to this park for its waterfalls, not its lime kilns.
The lime kilns (see the photo at the end of the blog) were used in the late 1800s to purify the lime that was used for the mortar for the brick buildings in San Francisco to the north. By the way, the redwoods in this area were clear cut to provide fuel to heat the kilns.
The foot-friendly dirt trails have us checking out the little brother redwoods that fill the forest sky; but they’ve none of the majesty of the towering, ravishing redwoods of their big sister state parks.
The park brochure mentions that hiking to the waterfalls requires some water crossings. Arriving at the first one, we are amazed to see a raging creek 20’ across, with submerged stones, boulders, and semi-submerged logs. Seeing three coeds taking off their shoes and socks and wading across the churning creek, we have all the encouragement that we need.
Removing her socks and hiking shoes, Hannah takes three steps into the creek and turns back saying, I can’t do it. My feet just hurt.
Having forded 20-30’ of cold water streams in Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur and outside of Reno, Nevada, I know that I can no longer cross this stream in my bare feet due to the rounded rocks, swift current, and normal balance issues of a 71 year old. We do have a Plan B.
Taking off our socks and hiking shoes, we pack away our socks and put our hiking shoes back on to slosh across the raging, few inches to a foot and a half deep creek. It works! Our soaked-to-the-bone hiking shoes even out the creek bed stones and with the grab of a creek log here and there, we get across.
Success! Hmmm, not so fast my friend.
Within 50 yards, we have an even wider, swifter crossing. Stepping into the ice cold stream, we take baby steps, hang on to creek logs and protruding boulders as best we can and successfully navigate the second of four creek crossings.
It’s an afternoon of unexpected joy, having stumbled onto this challenging water crossing trail. It all ends at the fabulous Limekiln Falls. Enjoy two waterfall videos.
Images from the trail