ELEVATION GAIN: 1,788 ft.
TIME TAKEN: 3.5 hours
SUMMIT: ROCKY RIDGE: 1,435 ft.
GARRAPATA STATE PARK
MONTEREY COUNTY, CA
When it was announced that Kikagaku Moyo was playing a show at the intimate Fernwood Tavern in Big Sur, Amber immediately snatched up tickets, along with campsite double aught (the finest one in the adjacent campground) for two nights. Amber's cousin Allen and his big German Shepherd awaited us when we got there. We had to set up some canopies over the fire and the picnic table, because it was raining intermittently the whole afternoon, and throughout the night, which we had mostly expected. The Big Sur River was surging QUITE impressively, and we were happy to have a campsite well above the banks. Other campsites within view were not so protected, and we silently wished them the best, should Rio El Sur Grande burst it's banks (it didn't).
The sun set pretty early, and we had been drinking and carrying on on for quite awhile by the time it got dark. But the gig wasn't scheduled to begin until 10pm, so we drafted and quickly executed a plan for a night hike! Headlamps and flashlights ablaze, we went Southeast down the trail that leads out of Fernwood campground, no particular destination in mind. We stumbled through mud, and over many rocks and roots in the semi darkness. And for his reputation as a mighty Native American pathfinder, Allen was the one who injured himself in the dark, though it may have because he was also the most drunk! This would also explain why he doesn't remember seeing Kikagaku Moyo that night. Poor fella. The show was great, and the intimate, sold out, wood paneled room sounded perfect. I'm sure I passed out like a stone in Amber's comfortable camper van, oblivious of the rainy, cold night outside.
I felt pretty good the next morning, for some reason, even after all the beer, whiskey and whatever else I could get my paws on. I had two potential hikes in mind, and my Big Sur guide said one allowed dogs, and one didn't. So we took ourselves and the big pup to the supposed "dog friendly" trail, only to immediately find a "no dogs" sign at the trailhead. This is one reason I do not have any pets, and therefore do not have to go on trails for the purpose of exercising them. But Allen took responsibility for the shep, broke the rules, and we continued without incident! The Soberanes Canyon / Rocky Ridge loop in Garrapata State park was magnificent. We saw nary a drop of yesterday's rain, and completed a route that had almost everything one could wish for in a Big Sur hike: Gushing creek, redwood groves, rocky inclines, rolling verdant hillsides, ocean views and even a goddamn rainbow to top it off!
Amber was not as thrilled as I was, even in her new hiking boots, because the hangover that somehow eluded me had sunk it's claws deeply elsewhere. After what I considered a perfect Big Sur hike, with an encore at the beach, we returned to the campground to find Bryce and Crystal waiting for us. The party began… or continued? We were able to find someone selling an extra ticket to that nights (added later) sold out show, so that Allen could go in and remember seeing the band this time. Amber and I were able to watch the band from outside, at the side door, and witness a totally different, heavier set list than the night before. No complaints whatsoever. Except for MY hangover the NEXT day.