Big Sur Reunion

McWay Falls
McWay Falls


“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
~Katharine Hepburn

Company of good friends and a dog named Huckleberry
Nice scenery
Light pack
Great food and drink
Natural hot springs
all coupled with feet that itch to burn some trail miles
= One great weekend

Late last summer, Silly Chili and I met at Big Sur, CA for a weekend overnight with Continental Divide Trail hiker friends, Drop n’ Roll, Love Note, Burly, and Huckleberry (puppy adopted while hiking the CDT). Drop n’ Roll was in California for work and we all jumped at the chance to make a quick backpack happen. The weekend to Sykes Hot Springs was filled with laughter, fun, and a bit of shenanigans.

Dramatic Big Sur is on the coast of central California. The route to Sykes Hot Springs is very popular with evidence of many violations of the leave no trace policy and poison oak along most of the trail.

If you are looking for solitude, this is not the trip for you. However, Big Sur features a rugged coastline, dense redwood groves, open meadows, rivers, waterfalls, arid inland peaks, and mild weather most of the year.

TRIP DATE August 23-24, 2014
LENGTH 20 miles out and back on maintained trail
TRAIL HEAD Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pine Ridge Trail Head CA, Ventana Wilderness, CA
NAVIGATION  marked trail
HIGHLIGHT Soaking in Sykes Natural Hot Spring

Day 1 – Pine Ridge Trail Head to Sykes Camp

Dramatic Coast
Dramatic Coast


Our route left from the parking lot at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on Highway 1 and followed the Pine Ridge Trail ending at the crossing of Big Sur River at Sykes Camp. Sykes camp is large with many available tent sites.

After dinner, drink, and a bit of swimming, our herd headed upstream to popular Sykes Hot Springs. The spring is a great place to meet other hikers and features a few tubs with varying degrees of water temperatures.

Day 2 – Sykes Camp to Pine Ridge Trail Head

After packing up and snapping a few family photos we reluctantly headed back.

As I mentioned earlier, Leave No Trace principles is widely lacking in this area. Evidence of garbage, food, and other unmentionables abound.

Burly even found a roller backpack full of trash and hauled it out by stuffing it in the top of his pack! Lovenote found an abandoned daypack with garbage and also hauled it out. Pretty scary actually.

I think it must be a lack of education for this to happen. Perhaps a solution is to require at trail heads on over populated trails, a short 5 minute interactive course on Leave No Trace ethics. The pamphlets apparently are not working.


A  picture is worth a thousand words
A picture is worth a thousand words

Exciting news!

Many of you who followed the Wandering Herd on the CDT a couple of summers ago, just may have wondered about Lovenote and Burly on the CDT.

Great and awesome news…they are getting married this August in the Sierras. Silly Chili and I plan on celebrating with them in full hiker trash regalia. 

I love these guys!



  1. steve scarano

    Good timing (or not?), Christy; we were thru Big Sur on May 8, finally getting into the Point Sur Lighthouse Tour. Today (May 19) we were in Tehachapi, getting close enough to two hikers to honk at them but couldn’t get our Majik to them. Best regards. Hamburger Helper

  2. Denise Spruce

    I just found your blog and am so excited to read about your PCT adventures. I’ve been wanting to thru-hike the PCT since 1975 when the National Geographic printed a book about it. My life got busy with one child and then finally 4 total and now I’m 40 years older and more excited than I was when I was 16! Thankfully there are lots of new ultralight backpacking gear to make my adventure someday much better than I would’ve been in years past. I’m thrilled to read about your gear, food and anything else you are posting! What a great place/time we live in! Thank you for sharing your adventure and inspiring me to plan my own.

    • Denise, First of all thank you so much for commenting. You just made my day!!!! I just want to encourage you to chase your dream. This hiking community is so supportive and you can start and continue this sport at any age. How cool is that? Remember it is just one step at a time. If I can help in any way please let me know. I would love to see the original book. Hope you still have yours.

      • Denise Spruce

        Christy, I do still have the book! After reading “Wild”and “Thru-hiking will break your heart” I’m reading it again. I’m loving the blogs and how hiking has changed since my first backpacking trip in Big Sur in 1972 in Jr. High. No more huge backpacks weighing a million pounds! LOL. It may be a few years before I get to hike the PCT but I haven’t given up on the dream. Thank you for your encouragement. Denise

  3. Love the reunion thread. Even if it is from last year. I totally understand your “family photos”, you guys are all so close and I feel like I’m a tiny part just because of your blogs. I love that your are Rockin’ with all these folks, I mean, you are Rockin’!

  4. Last time I was at McWay Falls I saw about a dozen condor! Totally cool!!

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