Mighty Big Sur (Part II)

Morning in Big Sur, California

So mighty is Big Sur, its riches were too many to be showcased in a single post. Our tour through el sur grande continues…

Partington Cove

Big Sur Partington Cove Sea Otter

With only an approximate location and vague instructions to look for an iron gate along Hwy 1, we found the unmarked trail to Partington Cove on our second try. A short, steep hike leads through a wooded, wildflower-bedecked canyon before branching in two directions, one toward a secluded patch of rocky beach.

Big Sur Partington Cove Tunnel

The other way leads through a century-old, 60-foot tunnel, once used to transport cargo onto ships and later a rumored rendezvous point for liquor smugglers during Prohibition. A wooden walkway leads to another rocky outcropping, where we spied on an otter frolicking in the water—our first sighting in the wild of the elusive creature, once nearly hunted to extinction.

Bixby Bridge

Big Sur Bixby Bridge, California

Spanning a canyon along Hwy 1, the arched Bixby Bridge was completed in 1932 and styled to blend in with its surroundings. One of the world’s highest single-span bridges, topping out at 260 feet, it’s a popular backdrop for car commercials and a favorite spot for camera-wielding visitors, including us.

Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur Pfeiffer Beach

A $5 admission fee buys access to striking Pfeiffer Beach, where massive sandstone rocks stand among the waves just offshore. One boulder features a cutout in its center, as if framing the ocean vista, while purple-hued sand brightens up the beach, stained by minerals washing down from a hillside.

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Big Sur's Henry Miller Memorial Library

Books suspended from the ceiling adorn the Henry Miller Memorial Library

Since novelist and one-time Big Sur resident Henry Miller makes a cameo in my forthcoming book, Writers Between the Covers, stopping by his namesake Library—a nonprofit bookstore, arts center and live music venue (the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have played there)—was on the agenda. As it turns out, it happened to be the only place in Big Sur where we could connect during our media blackout. The Library offers wi-fi to customers, and we lounged on their porch among the redwoods checking email and sipping Earl Grey tea in exchange for a small donation.

Before we showed up I had affectionately dubbed the place the “dirty Henry Miller” Library because of what I had learned about his salacious relationship with the writer Anaïs Nin in Paris during the 1930s. And the Library does indeed manage the interesting combination of being both literary and playfully dirty. Along with copies of Miller’s books, including Tropic of Cancer, which was banned for obscenity in the U.S. for nearly thirty years, on display were tomes for those looking to spice up their sex lives.

Valentines Day at Big Sur's Henry Miller Memorial Library

Valentines Day table at the Henry Miller Memorial Library

One of many writers and artists drawn to Big Sur, Miller lived in the area for fifteen years. In Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, he summed up the striking landscape by saying, “This is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.”

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10 Comments on “Mighty Big Sur (Part II)”

  1. cravesadventure May 17, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    AMAZING Captures – thanks for sharing! Happy Weekend:)


  2. heavenhappens May 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    I think he was right about the earth as the creator meant it to look ~ it is magnificent as captured in your beautiful photographs x


  3. Debra Kolkka May 18, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    What a gorgeous place!


  4. Fulltime RV'ers May 18, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I gotta go there


  5. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer May 18, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    It certainly is one of the most spectacular places on earth: and one of the most terrifying to drive. I have never been more frightened, driving alongside the steep drops to the crashing waves below. I prefer looking at photos.


  6. diningnirvana May 20, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Hee hee!! Loving the “dirty library”!! Am I wrong to have honed in on that! Of course, I love the otter as well – one of my favourite animals (although we have none down here in Australia). Something for everybody in this post! Cheers, Helen.


  7. backthewaywecame May 23, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Loved the photo of Pfeiffer Beach.



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