Ben and I frist drove a piece of Highway 1 about 5 years ago. Our time spent driving along there was brief since it was a detour in a much longer road trip that required us to head east. But those few hours spent driving along the coast made its impression. Ever since then we have been dreaming up our return, extended, journey .
Last month the stars finally aligned, and our return trip began. This time with Noah in tow, and a map full of new sights for our eyes and hearts to feast on.
Our first stop: Stinson Beach, a repeated layover from our first venture onto the historic highway. We even stayed in the same tiny, entirely blue, nautical themed motel. Its charm lies in its efforts to make no attempt to pretend to be something that its not. All the while, its true enchantment is the lush botanicals that are slowly engulfing its walls and walkways. Plus, it smells like you are sleeping inside a flower.
From there, we journeyed on. We deviated out to the lighthouse of Point Reyes, where we walked to meet the beacons edge and leaned in to the wind that reminds of your mere human weakness against its strength. We passed one oyster bar after another and traced along the jarring edges of the land slowly being eaten away by the sea, only making stops for bathroom breaks and to take a moment to breath in the landscape. And lets not forget about the homespun skate park, hidden behind the beach of a rest stop, where the view of the coastline seemed to trump my worries of broken glass and rusty nails.
The next morning we awoke in our tent beneath the towering and acclaimed Redwoods along the Avenue of the Giants. While in constant awe of our environment and the ancient beings that stood before us, our stop was brief as time weighed on us to move forward.
But not without making one last detour. To Fern Canyon at Gold Beach. I have to admit, we almost missed out on this place. We drove all the way to the trail head and sat for a few minutes. At this point I thought I was just too tired to see what I thought would be more of the surrounding hills. Tired from the driving and constant stops and going here and there and more hours still to go that day. But Ben convinced me the short walk would be worth it for all of us, if not for the sake of getting our of the car. And just as quickly as we'd started walking, the hillside parted ways and revealed a dreamy little canyon of fern coated walls with a shallow creek weaving through its floors. This place held a magical energy that I had nearly missed for reasons that aren't really good reasons. When you seek adventure, it's best not to say no when it presents itself. Don't walk away with only a quarter mile to go. You don't know what you could be missing.
A month later, I still can't get over how much more I wanted to see. All the stops that were missed and the places there just wasn't time for. This mere 3 day trip and only 419 miles of coastline provided some of the most amazing places I've ever seen, each one distinctly different from one another in appearance and energy. These places are raw and barren, lush and abundant, timeworn and old-fashioned, majestic and regal. It's no surprise that this coast has the notorious reputation that it does, attracting visitors from around the world. Its true beauty goes beyond any words that I can construct.
But this stretch of the world is so much more than just its pretty places. There is an energy that it exudes. An energy that is equally indescribable. It moves you and inspires you and opens you up to feel the heart of the world and all its wildness.
Needless to say, I am already dreaming up plans for our next return. But first, The southern stretch.