Last Light – Carmel

By: firstpersonshooter

Mar 30 2013

Category: California, Landscape, Natural Light, Nature, Travel

1 Comment

Focal Length:22mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

After touring Hearst Castle in San Simeon, we had a late lunch in the neighboring town of Cambria, then headed back up Highway 1 toward San Francisco. We were racing the daylight and tried to limit our stops to take photos so we wouldn’t have to drive any more winding roads in the foggy dark. But again, the problem with the Pacific Coast Highway is that there’s something stunning around every curve. I lost count of how many times I looked out the window and repeated, “Ohhh…. WOW.”

We stopped and snapped a few photos from the Big Sur coast at Nepenthe, a very cool restaurant with an unparalleled view, and rushed up the highway to try and experience some of the 17-mile drive, a stretch of road which had been recommended to me by several friends. We didn’t make it. And with the sunlight fading, I directed my Aunt DJ down Ocean Ave. in Carmel to a beach where we might squeeze off a few shots before sunset.

It was a providential choice. The beach was windy and cold, but gorgeous. A large crowd had gathered to watch the sun go down from a scenic overlook. I wondered how many were tourists and how many were locals. Did the privileged populace of Carmel ever get numb to this incredible sight, evening after evening?

Casey and I walked down the deep slope of sand to water’s edge. She took her shoes and socks off (again) and let her landlocked Arkansan feet soak up the cold waters of the Pacific. We snapped photo after photo, beauty on every side. Then, when the light was nearly gone, and hypothermia setting in on my sister’s toes, we turned to climb back up the sandy hill. It was a close to 40 degree grade of probably 100-150 yards which seemed more like a half mile. I put the heart and lungs that had spent two months recovering in a hospital bed last fall through their paces. Halfway up the hill, trudging through the thick sand, I think I was trying to consider words a fitting epitaph for the memorial marker that I was sure would be left for me there.

We made it to the top, wheezing and coughing, nearly doubled over and moaning from the climb, but pleased with the workout all the same. I brushed as much sand as possible from my shoes and pants, and climbed back into the SUV to finish our drive through the smokey darkness of North California.


One comment on “Last Light – Carmel”

  1. I have experienced the Carmel phenomenon several times. I queried a couple business people about the normalcy of sunset observance there a few years ago. The smiling answers were that a great percentage are town folk…they never tire of it…and I’m glad.

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