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IMG_3863One of my favorite places to visit is the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, a two-hour drive from our home. There you can find not only 300-foot (90 m) redwoods which are over 2,500 years old, but an 80-foot waterfall that drops into a protected cove, one of the few waterfalls that empty directly into the ocean. The masthead photo on this blog is of the McWay Falls.

Recently I had the pleasure of taking some out-of-state guests there. Following are photos from our trip.

The drive to the park on Highway 1, winding along the coastline high above the Pacific Ocean, is one most spectacular that you will find anywhere in the world.

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Here you can see the highway hugging the coastline.  Often it is washed out by rains and mudslides in the winter.

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Along the way are glimpses of beautiful coves and beaches and wild flowers..

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Julia Pfeiffer Park is located 27 miles south of Carmel.  It spans the highway with redwoods groves and picnic areas on one side, skirting the McFall River.

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My cousin shows off one of the largest, and perhaps oldest, of the redwoods found in the park.







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Visitors can walk through a tunnel under the highway to find trails leading past the falls up to where a home once stood with fantastic views of the ocean to the north and south.

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This home had been build by the former U.S. House Representative Lathrop Brown and his wife Helen who acquired the property in 1924. In 1961 they bequeathed the property to the State of California and dedicated it to their friend and neighbor Julia Pfeiffer Burns.  They requested their home to be demolished, so only a stone foundation remains.

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This is the view from their home to the north.  The water colors are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen since traveling in the South Pacific.


A closer view of the northern shoreline.

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Here is the view of the McWay Falls through the trees from where the house once stood.  Closer views of the falls along the trail follow.




The drive home is no less spectacular, passing along homes built along the hillsides, then dropping down to sea level where we find Elephant Seal Beach, and a peek of Hearst Castle.

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Elephant Seal Beach is a protected sanctuary with docents available to answer questions.  It’s a few miles north of Cambria along Highway 1, before the climb up to Big Sur.

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A chummy clan.


Here you see a bull, its mates, and a baby.

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A peak of Hearst Castle high on the mountain top.  Soon after this view we turn away from the coast, passing through these mountains to our own hillside home on the other side.