Monday, August 18, 2008

Thank you Coug and Zack

Just got back from spending four days camping down near Big Sur. Awesome stuff.

My buddy and I drove through the burn zone and saw completely denuded hillsides and the local businesses had 'We [heart] you Firefighters!' signs up everywhere.

We couldn't have an open flame, so no campfires, and the trails in the hills were closed, but we did have some cool beach access and a double-burner propane stove.

In getting down there, we stopped at this bomb Vietnamese restaurant that made very stinky (lots of pickled veggies) BBQ chicken sandwiches. We'd parked next to the great sounding place that offered both the chance to cut hair and provide the patron with a tasty snack! What a winning combination!

Traffic was gnarly going down, and the marine layer was thick with Pacific goodness. When driving through Carmel we saw tons of eff-you money in the form of spankin' new Ferraris, Austin-Martins, Porches, BMW Z8s, a Maybach, Maseratis, et al. Of course, I could only remember and take pictures of them after the fact, so my photos were relegated to the prole Subarus and hybrid SUV.

When we got there, we couldn't have a campfire, but we could have a propane stove, so we fired it up and got the shitakes going.

The sunset was awesome from the view from our campsite.

Beach access was achieved by hiking down a path that crossed the creek for which the site was named. There was evidence of crazy pyroclastic activity. The rocks in the hillside were mostly covered by soil, but at beach level, there were instances of quartz, granite, shale, basalt, feldspar, and this crazy looking sediment layer that had some sweet cleavage.

Once our other friend showed up, and we walked down again, we came across a couple composed of a guy in a large hat, and a 'talented' woman who had taken some attention-getting classes from Paris Hilton. On the way back from a hike, we found them in the creek, where the dude was [repeatedly] directing his lady-friend to splash some [of the water] on her torso. It was a comment that got us better mileage than the EV-1.

There was lots of much kelp that I got a little naseous when taking this photo.

Since the trails were closed we hiked up a nearby road that led up over the mountains. We scored some sweet views, and found this cool looking tree. I didn't tell either of my comrades, but I had mentally nicknamed it 'Huggy'.

We got up far enough that the marine layer burned off...or was at least thin enough in certain areas so we could see some blue sky. At one point there we spotted some godlight, which is what I call the sunlight when it's visibly sticking its fingers through the space around tress, clouds, or other sources that cause the light to become distinct photonic shafts.

We came across a tunnel spider. I was the only one to see was massive, fast, and burly...kinda like Kathy Bates' portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery. We tried unsuccessfully to get it out of its funnel. This picture doesn't do fairly express the sheer size of the web.

As for the spider, I would imagine that it looks similar to this one. It certainly moved as fast.

Later forays with nature involves plugging up a nearby yellow jacket nest after it had struck one of our numbers on an early morning bathroom break.

This didn't work very well, so we were forced to take stronger measures and recruit all the nearby ground squirrels to rally together and eat the insects as they swarmed near their den.

Colonel Codpiece, seen here, was most successful in gnawing off the heads of most of the treacherous stingbugs. He continued to pester us once the yellow jackets were vanquished, and surprised us by mounting the nearby rock and whistling for his homies to come over and get his back.

The Coug term is in reference to a neighbor camper who strolled around the site with her tiny dog. Somehow she acquired the mantle of a 'cougar', which served us several days of material, for which we were eternally grateful.

Zack was the site attendent during our visit. When we first got there, we found someone else in our site, and after talking with Zack we learned that he 1) made a minor mistake, and 2) was probably baked, unavoidable.

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