Thursday, February 26, 2009

Partington Cove, Big Sur

Image by Madison Guy

On a clear, bright day, when the blue of the sea rivals the blue of the sky, one sees the hawk, the eagle, the buzzard soaring above the still, hushed canyons. In summer, when the fogs roll in, one can look down upon a sea of clouds floating listlessly above the ocean; they have the appearance, at times, of huge iridescent soap bubbles, over which, now and then, may be seen a double rainbow. In January and February the hills are greenest, almost as green as the Emerald Isle. From November to February are the best months, the air fresh and invigorating, the skies clear, the sun still warm enough to take a sun bath.

From our perch, which is about a thousand feet above the sea, one can look up and down the coast a distance of twenty miles in either direction. The highway zigzags like the Grande Corniche. Unlike the Riviera, however, there are but few houses to be seen. The old-timers, those with huge landholdings, are not eager to see the country opened up. They are all for preserving its virginal aspect. How long will it hold out against the invader? That is the big question. -- Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

Ever Google yourself? (If you don't know what it means to Google yourself, Lord help you. Click here and then get back to me. Welcome to the nineties.) Well, I Googled "Partington" a few years ago and discovered there's a Partington Cove right here in my very own California. It's beeeeeuteeful. Henry Miller apparently used to live on Partington Ridge, directly above the cove. We took a hike there when the monkeys were small, and it was breathtaking.

Partington Cove is about a half mile hike past an unmarked gate and down several switchbacks which lead to the outlet of Partington Creek. (Look how little Addie is!)

Partington Creek, image by DH Lake

The creek opens up into the first of what is actually two coves. In this first one, hikers craft rock piles like these:

You then cross a bridge and walk into a tunnel through the rock. This tunnel opens into the second cove, which was used for the delivery of tanbark (or if you hear E tell it--assorted Pirate booty.)

The remains of shipping equipment is still bolted to the rock as a reminder that before the Highway was built, most of what was brought in was done by ship. The deep water has a teal green hue, and the small cove opens up into a breathtaking view of the coastline. It's gorgeous, and it still has the feeling that it is untouched. It humbles me to think that even in an overpopulated state like California, we have such natural beauty. We're so lucky to live here.

I want to go back sometime soon. I was pretty bummed that it was such an overcast day, so my pics are all a little grim. Hike on a gray day? Free. Discovering your pirate ancestry? Priceless.

Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum, matey!

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