Cozy camp at Ventana. Backpacking at big sur, ca

Not the ‘wilderness’ I was looking for

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I might have to stick to the Sierras for a while. Or at the very least anywhere north of Santa Cruz. Point Reyes is a given. The reason? Although I only experience a small portion of it, Big Sur at Ventana Wilderness was a huge disappointment.

In short, the hike was tough, without a payoff. The trail, a dusty, linear and boring string that connects you with, and only with, you, and your destination. The journey? Already made out for you.

There’s nowhere to go but straight. The views? If you enjoy staring at the other side of a ridge for five or six hours, then by all means, take Big Sur Station to Ventana Camp and beyond and have a lovely time. But for my effort, it was almost a complete wash.

I suppose the only plus sides were those that really mattered. Fresh air, a few hours of peace at camp, tequila a little too rough, and decent food.


The campsite was cozy and quaint. After trailing a 400 foot drop in a mile off the trail to reach our overnight destination, we found a few campsites tucked in to the valley below. A brook of babbles greeted us close by, fire ring, and actually places to sit were all found.

After eating dinner and relaxing we started grabbing pics. All well and fine for a few more hours, until the crazies came out. A pack of kids, no more than 25, all high off their rockers, came strolling through camp, asking where the hot springs were. Yah, uhh, 6 miles down the trail guys. So of course they weren’t about to do so at 10 p.m. They set up camp nearby to our deep, depressing dismay. Sleep that night? Sparse, at best. But then again, it always is out here.

Come morning, we ate our Icka Meal and booked it out as quickly as we could.

Now, instead of focusing on what went wrong, I’m trying my absolute best to be more positive. Which is why I leave with this image. This was the wilderness I was looking for. Something out of a movie, a moonlight garden, perhaps, or at least one on another planet. Although I didn’t get my wilderness out of this one, I have half a sweet dream to dwell on. Thanks Big Sur. Next time will be for a long, hesitant ways out.



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