the weather sucked on saturday; cold, grey, and rainy, so instead of going running j. and i went climbing, then out to brunch, and then lay around watching bad movies while we tried to convince each other that we didn't feel guilty for not running.
sunday morning we packed up our gear, jumped into j.'s truck and drove down to big sur to go camping. our plan was to hike about 10 miles into the ventana wilderness and camp near some hot springs, and that's what we did.
what with one thing and another we didn't start hiking until 2:00, and our packs were heavier than they would normally have been because it snowed the two previous nights, and we had all kinds of warm gear.
the trail was beautiful, winding up and down ridges and in and out of canyons, giving glimpses of snow-covered peaks and moss-drenched gullies, and all the while we could see one mountain ahead of us with a dark cloud sitting on top of it, and snow-covered flanks slanting down out of it.
we made good time, and even though we lost the sun early because were down in the canyons, we reached the hot springs with a little time left to find a campsite before the light faded.
that turned out to be a bit of a problem; the mountains in ventana are STEEP, and there's not a whole lot of flat ground to be had. what there was had already been claimed by other campers on both sides of the river, and it was starting to look like were were going to have to wedge into a table-sized nook for the night.
after a little running around we spotted a nice flat, sandy site right by the river, and away from the other campers. the only problem was that it was on the far side of the river, and the only way to get there was to wade through the absolutely frigid, thigh-deep water.
it hurt but we did it, and were rewarded with a great site with plenty of wood for the fire, and great natural stone bench to sit on.
by the time we'd had dinner and wine it was late, and we went to bed, bundled against the cold.
we slept late, and then had to scramble to hit the trail because we had a reservation at the teahouse spa
in santa cruz for a hot tub and sauna session. we double-timed it back out and managed to cover the 10 miles in just over 2.5 hours, which put us back at the car exactly 24 hours after we left, gave us just enough time to get to santa cruz.
on the way back out of the wilderness, perched on a steep slope, we saw a santa lucia fir*
, the rarest fir tree in the world. i'd been wanting to see one for some time, and it was a nice surprise to stumble across one so unexpectedly.
we drove up the coast as we left santa cruz, watched the sun set over the pacific, stopped in el grenada for dinner, and were home, tired but happy, early enough to be in bed by 8:30
so of course i dorked around until 9:30 and paid for it when my alarm went of at 5:00 the next morning.
(there would have been pictures of the trip since i remembered to charge my camera battery AND pack the camera, but i forgot to make sure the memory card was in there. sometimes i'm an idiot).
*the site i'm trying to link to seems to think that blogger is some kind of spammer, so the link gets redirected. i emailed them to ask what was up, but until they respond, you can copy and paste the link the get there http://www.ventanawild.org/news/fe98/slfirs.html