Monday, June 29, 2009

gliding down the california coast

After leaving the cities of the Northwest, we headed down highway 101 and eventually highway 1 along the Northern California coast. Back to the natural and rugged world of camping, we switched out of our city gear of nice jeans and collared shirts back into our hiking shoes, ugly t-shirts and greasy hair mode. There's no one to show off for out here in the wild.

We started in redwood forests. These trees are the tallest in the world, the largest being nearly 370 feet tall. Now that's an original skyscraper. We slept on a beach with golden bluffs lining the rugged coast where elk with giant antlers walked among the tents, and took hikes into canyons lined with giant ferns, moist and green and lush.

We moved onto an even more remote landscape in the lost coast. This region of California's coast is so mountainous that they could barely fit a windy, patchy road through it. There are a few small towns spotted along the road (and by small, I mean smaller than your highschool class), one of them being Petrolia, the first place the oil tycoons drilled in California.

At last we got to the famous highway one. We walked through tall golden grass fields and looked out over the rocky cliffs and a bright blue ocean, and I felt like I was in this Monet painting that I spent a lot of time observing at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. This woman stands on the top of a hill in Normany, the wind whips all around her, pulling at her dress and her hat. It is so strong I imagine she is almost resting against it. At that moment, I wonder what she is thinking. Does she recognize the beauty of her surroundings? Or is it part of the quotidian of her life? I imagine she breaks from her routine in her mind for just a moment. Just long enough to see the wonder and ecstacy of life, as the sun bounces from the water and onto her face, warming it. I want to always feel that way.

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