the big trip, chapter 1: san clemente – big sur

May 30, 2011

After four months as editing interns with ZUMAPRESS, the time has come for Beth and I to move on to new horizons. My summer internship with the Denver Post will start on June 6, which left us enough time to embark on a roadtrip and visit some of the most beautiful parts of the West Coast.

I was hoping to blog about this trip more regularly and more often, but internet access and the time to edit pictures and prepare blog posts are hard to come by when the road is your home. Currently, we are stranded in a cheap motel in a not-so-good area of Fresno, Calif., after the mountains in Yosemite and Los Padres National Forest ate up the breaks of my car. Since no mechanic is open on Memorial Day, we had no choice but to wait until tomorrow – which finally gives me a chance to post the first chapter of the Big Trip: San Clemente to Big Sur.

Over the next couple of days, I will post several more chapters of the trip, so please check back soon!


Originally, we planned to drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to Big Sur. A couple of weeks before we left, however, a rock slide rendered parts of the road impassable and forced us to take a little detour through the Santa Lucia Mountains. We didn’t know it at the time, but this turned out to be a beautiful stroke of luck.

The detour took us along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road through the Ventana Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest. The pass winds up to a total elevation of 2780 ft., where the low-hanging clouds coming in from the Pacific engulf the mountains in an almost magical fog penetrated by soft sunlight. This unique topography and climate have given birth to a stunning and unique ecosystem: Literally out of the blue you turn around a corner and drive from an arid, montane chaparral into a rain forest-like woodland where huge, ancient redwood trees grow out of sight into the soft, grey silence of the clouds.

Driving on the US-101 N near San Miguel, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Driving on the US-101 N near San Miguel, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Clouds move into a valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Clouds move into a valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road winds up into the clouds engulfing the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road winds up into the clouds engulfing the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The low-hanging clouds that move in from the Pacific coast create a magical atmosphere in the higher elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

We got a little carried away by the fairy-tale mood of the scenery...

The low-hanging clouds that move in from the Pacific Coast create an incredible atmosphere in the higher elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

A trail head leads from Nacimiente-Fergusson Road into the fog.

Redwoods grow along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as it winds down the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific coast at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Redwoods grow along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as it winds down toward the Pacific Coast.

Wildflowers grow along the cliffs at the Pacific Coast near Lucia, Calif., May 18, 2011.

The Pacific Coast near Lucia, Calif.

Fueling up the car at probably one of the most beautiful gas stations in the world near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Fueling up the car at probably one of the most beautiful gas stations in the world near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Dress rehearsal for the backpacking trip: Our first dinner of the camping stove, consisting of couscous, dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Calif., May 18, 2011.

After setting up camp in a grove of huge Redwood trees at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, we got a chance for a dress rehearsal for the backpacking trip to Yosemite: Our first dinner of the camping stove, consisting of couscous, dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Delicious...

Filed under: USA

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4 Comments

  • 1. Davinder Richards  |  1. 6. 2011 at 12.25

    reminds me of my time in the USA in 2009!! enjoy !!

  • 2. Val  |  4. 6. 2011 at 10.01

    Can I please get a print of the “carried away” picture? It makes me really happy. ­čÖé

  • 3. Jakob Berr  |  4. 6. 2011 at 21.53

    Davinder – Thank you! By now we safely arrived in Denver (after some adventurous car troubles). It was a great experience and I will soon post more pictures of our other destinations. Val – of course you can. I’m glad you like it. The place was absolutely stunning…

  • 4. CobyLyn  |  10. 6. 2011 at 15.08

    I love your blog, looking forward to reading all about your and Beth’s adventures! What an ingenious recipe and I’d also love a print of Carried Away ­čÖé


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