Raf and I decided to go on our last hike at Big Sur. We decided to carve out some time out of all of our packing to drive down the beautiful Monterey Bay coast and hike at our ususal Big Sur spot, Garrapata State Park. This is where we had that experience last fall where we found an older lady had fallen down a cliff and into the brooke. Remember that? We should have taken that as a sign to never go back there. But no, we just had to go back and take a trail we had never taken before. We decided to take a trail that forms a loop with the trail that we were more familiar with. Actually, that is not entirely true. We had been on this trail before. But we had to turn around because it had just gotten too steep for me to climb up. hmm. another little experience I should have taken into account.
Okay, so we start climbing up. I was really proud of myself at first because I got through the steep parts that I couldn’t get through before. There was a nice, cool breeze from the fog that was coming in. It was challenging but not bad at all. But we just kept going up. I mean, seriously. We kept climbing for what seemed like forever. We would get to the top of one peak, thinking that this was where it would begin to descend to meet with the other trail, but it never happened. We just kept climbing. As we kept getting higher the nice foggy breeze went away and it got hot. I ran out of water. And, still, we kept climbing.
The point of no return was when we reached a bench that was constructed on this big rock at the top of a cliff. That in itself was strange. It was sketchy, first of all. I don’t know how I actually sat on it because I am deathly afraid of heights, and the bench literally looked over this sheer drop. I couldn’t even look out over it. I had my head turned toward land. On the bench was a dedication. It was dedicated to a colonel and it quoted him, “There have been a change in plans.” WTF? What did that mean? Sitting there over that cliff, that little quote was really rather creepy and ominous.
So we sat on that bench and looked at what we had ahead of us. It was another friggen hill. But this time it was scary looking. It was steep. I truly didn’t think I would be able to do it. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to turn around either. I didn’t want to go down the same way I came because 1) it was really steep and 2) it was really slippery due to the loose gravel. So going down the way we came would have been very scary. Thankfully, there was another, older, couple climbing the trail. We watched them for a bit to see how it went for them. Then I decided that if they can do it I can, too. So we did it. I just looked down at the trail and did’nt look to my sides. Raf kept telling me not to look to the sides. I probably would have had a panic attack if I had. He said he looked down once and he got kind of freaked out, and he isn’t afraid of heights.
I was really proud of myself for climbing that last peak. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. All in all we climbed about 2000 feet. I didn’t take a picture at the top and I don’t know why.
But then we had to hike down. This is where I started to lose it. I was tired. My leg muscles were shaking with fatigue. It was hot up there, and I was out of water. Getting down was difficult. It was pretty steep and my legs were so tired that I had to lean on Raf to get down some of the steeper parts. This made it take much longer. There was loose gravel on this side, as well, which made the trail slippery. I started to get irritated and crabby. Then I started getting pissed. Admittedly, I threw a couple of tantrums. I was just so exhausted! I think I even flipped off the trail :lol:.
We finally found ourselves in some shade by the little brooke and were able to splash our faces with cold water, which felt good! I really wished Raf had brought his water filter, but he didn’t so not water to drink. We were both so thirsty that we started reminiscing about how good the water tasted filtered from the brooke at Okanogan (in Washington state).
As icing on the cake, we ran into traffic all the way home to Santa Cruz. That was just a nice little addition to an awful experience.
To sum up, I don’t think I ever want to go back to that place, ever. That hike was literally like being in a nightmare. In fact, last night I had a hard time falling asleep because I kept getting flashes of the treacherous cliffs that we encountered, triggering my height anxiety.
And today I am in so much pain. My stomach muscles even hurt.