Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big Sur Camping

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur
Looking down the barrel of an empty weekend the only reasonable response is...Big Sur! 
View from Ventana Inn
Before moving up here, the idea of going to Big Sur on a whim for a weekend had been our shared design. And when the weather report all but heralded an entire weekend in the 70's we decided we would camp. 70's in February!? I love you, California.
So Friday we loaded the wagon with all our camping gear and hit the road. It never fails to blow my mind how much stuff two people can have just to go camping, for less than 48hrs no less. Backpack campers we are not. Car camping suits us just right.
our campsite
 We watched the sun set on our drive down PCH and arrived to the campsite just after dark. Pitching a tent in the pitch black is never fun but it was well worth it to awake in Big Sur the next morning.
reading by the campfire
It may come as no surprise that my favorite part about camping is the cooking!
The only challenge here is my favorite part of Big Sur are the restaurants, namely the Big Sur Bakery. So how then does one reconcile these two loves? Split the difference.

Campfire 'baked' potatoes

an unconventional use of a weenie roaster!

grilled asparagus with homemade arugula pesto
Tired from the drive Friday night, we opted for a simple campfire dinner: grilled asparagus and 'baked' potatoes in the campfire (a girl scout classic)! On the side we feasted on a giant bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips, another campsite favorite.
Spanish Tortilla, camping style
With the leftover 'baked' potatoes, I was inspired to try my hand at a Spanish Tortilla, or a potato omelette the next morning. While I am no Spaniard, I was quite pleased with the results.
Outside at Big Sur Bakery

Second Breakfast!!!
 Before trekking out on a big hike, we decided to get our strength up with second breakfast at Big Sur Bakery! A bobstock and a coffee set us right to hike the Pine Ridge Trail, a rather strenuous hike set in the beautiful Ventana Wilderness.
Along the Pine Ridge Trail
Set deep into the Ventana wilderness
the moon above the Ventana double cone
 The trail was very narrow and very steep but the sprawling views of the valley and the Ventana wilderness pay off big time. We're not sure how far we hiked but we were on the trail for 3+ hours, the whole time looking for widening of the trail to take a picnic break. Since we saw none in the 3+ hours on the trail, we made a picnic at the base of the trail.
a perfect picnic spot

base of the Pine Ridge Trail
The perfect spot to watch the sunset in Big Sur might be Nepanthe, Ventana Inn or Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn but we were just as pleased parking the car along the side of PCH and watching it from there!

We went to The Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant for dinner where I enjoyed an amazing smoked duck pizza, an unbelievably perfect pairing with Pinot. Really, the duck/pinot pairing would make a convert of any vegetarian or wine-hater around!
smoked duck pizza at Big Sur Bakery
We shared the last of the eggs and hiked the quick 1.4mile trail of Pfeiffer Falls Before heading out on Sunday. 
eggs with arugula pesto
Pfeiffer Falls

Cloverfields along the trail
redwoods everywhere
An official announcement to all our fellow campers...DH and I will gladly meet up in Big Sur for another camping weekend anytime!


  1. I'm not usually a big camper, but guacamole, weenie-roasted asparagus, and potato omelets might make a convert of me. Made my first Spanish potato omelet recently, and it was pretty damn good. Cooking those potatoes in a pan without browning or having them stick is a royal pain in the ass, though.

  2. hi will, i was terrified the potatoes would stick too but alas, butter was my best friend this time! not sure what the best vegan alternative might be!

  3. I just used a crapload of olive oil, though obviously it wasn't vegan with all those eggs.

    The problem wasn't so much the sticking as cooking the potatoes evenly. The method I was following involved cooking the potatoes (in thin slices) in copious amounts of olive oil, with the onion in layers between them.

    Overall, came out pretty well for my first attempt; just a few of the potatoes were a little crunchier than I would have liked.

    After the first flip: