The Pacific Coast Highway and Big Sur

California State Route 1 is referred to by many names, one of which is the Pacific Coast Highway. This week I drove the stretch from Monterey to San Luis Obispo, which includes the very impressive Big Sur area. The narrow and winding road offers outstanding views of the coastline.

The Big Sur coastline.

The Big Sur coastline.

The sheer scale of the objects and colors makes subtleties easy to miss. The cliffs are steep and high, the rocks are huge, the water is impossibly blue and the sky is too. After a few miles in Big Sur it is easy to develop a numbness–visual overload. Thankfully the road has many spots for drivers to pull off and park. I stopped many times. I failed to capture the grandeur of Big Sur with my camera. In hindsight, I should have taken more groups of pictures to be used in panoramas. I only have one panorama, which I intended to be a 2×2 panorama, but it turns out I didn’t line things up correctly. I ended up with this:

A crooked panorama of four pictures.

A crooked panorama of four pictures.

The incredible thing about that panorama is that it is four pictures and still fails to show how high the mountain stretched up beside me as I was taking the picture.

The best way to capture some of the scale was to photograph the distant coast, like I did in the picture below. You can get a feel for the scale if you notice the little dots on the road that are cars.

Another coastline shot at Big Sur.

Another coastline shot at Big Sur.

The coastline has sheer edges, rocky outcrops, and beaches at different points.

A beach at Big Sur.

A beach at Big Sur.

The Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur.

The Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur.

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, and I hope to do it again. It would be easy to spend a weekend hiking, photographing, and exploring the Big Sur region of Route 1.

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