early june '23
It was a few months back, summer fever hot in the air. It had been only a few short weeks since I had returned home from new york, and my friends had startled to trickle back one by one. Immediately, we were pulled to the ocean, the source of our stoke that had been calling to us from 3000 miles away. Loading up our surfboards we were off to Seaside. That did it. We got our fix, and wanted more. Much more.
Heading back to Portland, shootin' the breeze and a few rounds of Ju-Jitzu in the freshly cut grass, we were ready to hit the road again. We loaded up Nathan's Subaru Outback and were off, no planning, no hesitation, just going. Down south we went, hitting I5 until we got to the promised Highway 101.
Through the greenest of trees that tower above pockets of quiet meadows. Quick glances of sheep and cattle pass my window as we cruise down the highway at 70 mph, the hot pavement roaring under my seat. Southern Oregon. Otherworldly. I like the metaphor the Oregon Coast has always given me of the cliffs falling into the sea. Seems like there's something to that... Checking Surfline, I call up to Nathan and Jack from the backseat, "It says Gold Beach Jetty is only five minutes away, should we hit it?", but there is no question. We arrive and see the best pumping surf of our lives. Solid 5 and a half to 6 foot waves, a perfect breaking left. We anxiously wax our boards and head out.
To say this was anything less than magical would be an understatement. Drifting in the glassy ocean current on my board while pelicans flew inches above the waves and seals staring me with their hazy eyes just a few feet away. And then the ride of the summer: the sun was kissing the horizon as a beautiful set rolls in. I turn my board and paddle my shoulders off until I feel the momentum pick me up. Licking the salt off my lips I stand up and become transfixed. Time slowed in that moment making subtle turns as the sunset lit the wall of water to my left. I ran to the beach psyched out of my mind as I shared laughs with my two close friends.
Camp that night
Back down the coastal highway, across the boarder into California. Oh sweet California. Thunderous Redwood trees started to sprout from the ground, filling the air and our heads with buzzing excitement. Past 'frisco, to Santa Clara where we took the town as old friends do. Funny enough, it was our good buddy Erik's 21st that night. What a night.
Big Sur awaits. Big Sur. Big Sur. Big Sur...Trailing our thoughts the whole way through. Thinking of the writers, explorers, and natives that sought refuge amongst these rugged yet cleansing hills. And Big Sur we arrived. The air had changed, it was cooler but something else, something a little more intangible to it.
Mineshaft tunnel on a trail leading down to the ocean
Sitting on the edge of a small cliff overlooking the blue waters of the Pacific, I found peace. In a place seemingly untouched and impenetrable to man, teeming with all sorts of life, the soul is cleansed. To me, it was revitalizing the part of myself that had longed for the west the whole time I was back east. A chance to realize all that is important, and all that is sacred to me in my life. Being apart of the natural world in a somewhat constant state is who I am fundamentally as a person, and where I am most myself.
Henry Miller Memorial Library
Nathan & Jack