Big Sur and Dreams

June 7, 2019

One refreshing and challenging aspect of my partnership with Hiker John is that he takes  me to new places! This week’s place was an area of California that’s completely different from the desert! Big Sur. Meaning the big south, it’s the 90-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast between San Simeon and Carmel, South of San Francisco and 350 miles north of Los Angeles.  It’s uniquely rocky and steep, craggy oak covered mountains plummeting down to crashing breakers, broken by short stretches of sandy beaches.

Steep canyons thick with trees protect crystal streams that flow into the surf.  We camped four nights – at San Simeon Creek and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks and at USFS Plaskett Creek Campground. All were within 60 miles along California Coast Highway 1. In between San Simeon and Pfeiffer Big Sur we stopped for quick visits and short walks in several public areas: Elephant Seal Viewing area, Piedras Blancas, Salmon Creek Falls, Willow Creek, Mill Creek, Nacimiento-Ferguson Road, Kirk Creek, McWay Falls, and Sand Dollar Beach. North of our camp at Pfeiffer Big Sur, we also took one side trip to Andrew Molera State Park.  Each stop and walk had its own unique combinations of beach, rocks, streams, canyons, and even a vista above the “Marine Layer” of fog seen from atop the ridge of the Nacimiento Road.

What stands out for me most about this quick trip of short stops was the diversity of new plants and animals for me combined with the dramatic ruggedness of the cliffs. My list of new organisms includes Elephant Seals, California Condors, and Coastal Redwood trees. On our southerly return to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we stopped at Morro Bay and added Sea Otters and Perigrine Falcons to my Life List!

On our first full day, we took a half-day cultural visit as well. Just north of San Simeon State Park is the William Randolf Hearst Castle. The $25 price tag for a tour of just one area of the castle seemed steep until I caught sight of the regal edifice capping a mountain from the tour bus that wound its way up for fifteen minutes!  I had innocently agreed to take the tour with John with no foreknowledge of the magnitude of the Hearst Castle, an elaborate Mediterranean village and column-lined pool, dripping with millions of dollars worth of Mediterranean sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and whole carved, gold-gilded ceilings. Glamorous Opulence could describe it in a couple of words.

Although the interpretation from our docent emphasized the social ambiance of the constant stream of celebrity guests, peaceful retreats for creative legends, and the flexibility of iconic architect Julia Morgan, something else struck me. The place was constantly under construction – for 28 years, halted and never finished at Hearst’s death in 1948. Having lived in an old house being renovated, I remember the nagging incompleteness and feeling of never-ending camping! Although today the place is quiet and stunning, I doubt it was so when it was a living place.

Another irony I experienced during our two-hour visit was that the castle, renowned for its festive, elegant life, alive with parties, bootlegged spirits, splendid dinners, and sports is now a nonliving museum showpiece, protected fastidiously, as it should be! Only water is permitted. No food or beverages. I was scolded by a docent for sucking on a cough drop while resting on a chair on the patio after our tour. “Are you eating something?” She interrogated me. “No food!” Busted. And hungry ’til we got back to our car forty minutes later. The documentary film about the castle encourages each of us to emulate Hearst and “build our dreams.” I reflected on this idea, wondering what the world could be if everyone built their dream. It seemed preposterous that there could be so many mansions, until I realized that dreams can take many forms, many less elaborate homes, works of art, gardens. Even public housing was someone’s dream! Or roads! Preserved Redwood Forests and beaches covered with slumbering seals, and undisturbed vistas. Dreams can be creations without substance like walks or dances or music, mathmatical solutions to the Universe or a feeling of peace in the place of turmoil transformed. Hearst Castle, modeled in physical grandeur, is a one kind of dream. Dreams can take so many forms!

My dream is to prosper enticing others to come outside where they can discover themselves as a vibrant column of energy moving between Heaven and Earth, love themselves just as they are, and step courageously into THEIR unique dream.

  • What IS that dream of yours? Hit reply and share it with me!

I heard from Mary, one of my successful hike coaching women! Mary’s dream is to fill her next class, Resolving Grief, with courageous people seeking comfort and resolution in a challenging life transition. Mary has helped me many times to see a different perspective and look at how my way of being either limits or expands what is possible! See this one for yourself!

  • Feel free to share YOUR dream with meand the Forgivenesswalks Community! Reply now!

In joy!


Coastal Redwoods tower at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Elephant Seals slumbering near Piedras Blancas


Smooth rocks and crashing surf at Sand Dollar Beach.

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