Carmel > Kirk Creek Campground (59 miles)
After a 7:30 wake-up, I again made my way to La Bicycletta, where I found the fire still burning in the heart of the kitchen.
After a lovely bowl of oatmeal and mixed berries, I set out with fuel for the day's Big Sur adventure.
Before jumping on Highway 1, I stopped at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo for a quick photo opp. The mission has existed in this location since 1771, long before the area's $500.00 green fees.
Leaving Carmel, the Big Sur Roads have rolling elevations loaded with spectacular scenery. The route winds around the curvaceous Big Sur coast, all the time with spectacular views of the vast Pacific and it's emerald green shores.
I had a simple lunch at Nepenthe, a restaurant that has been serving customers amazing views and average food for more than 60 years. After Nepenthe, Highway 1 follows the shape of the coast. I enjoyed the sun and 70 degree temperatures along with favorable winds.
Frequent view stops impeded my progress, but I was in no hurry. 39 miles from Carmel, I made it to Julie Pfeifer Burns State Park, home to the Sunset magazine cover shot worthy McWay Falls. This sexy little number consists of a diminutive beach protected by it’s own mini penninsula. This jewel is protected from tourists on the other side by steep cliff walls populated with coastal plant life. The icing on the cake is a ribbon of a waterfall that emerges from the trees and spills onto the beach.
From 1940 to 1956, this home view was enjoyed by Helen Hooper Brown and her husband Lathrop Brown, a close friend to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When the Browns weren't gazing at the spectacular scenery, they were admiring their paintings by Degas and Gauguin. Helen was an east coast heiress. Orphaned at 15, she inherited $10,000,000.00. When she left for Florida in 1956, Helen gave her ranch to the State of California, and specified it be named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns. Burns was a good friend and pioneer who had settled in the area in 1869 at the age of 11 months. Okay, maybe her parents lead the way.
Eventually... I made it to Limekiln State Park. Joe was right, it's a great little spot. Unfortunately all the good sites were spoken for, so I continued down the road a couple of miles to Kirk Creek campground. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Josh and Alex, fellow campers who were enjoying a late afternoon meal at the table of my “walk up” camp spot.
The campground had no hot showers, but I was happy the scenery was nice and that I had time to set up my tent when it was still sunny and warm.