BIG SUR ADVENTURE | BACKPACKING ON THE PINE RIDGE TRAIL
This is how we started a month of adventure. Leaving from Ojai, CA we spent the first night in Morro Bay, perfectly located between Los Angeles and Big Sur. This little beach town was great for an overnight stop and a relaxing evening before our camping trip. We chose the 456 Embarcadero via the app, Hotel Tonight and loved it, we even had the surprise to be upgraded to the suite with ocean view and fireplace, so parfait!
After a stop in San Luis Obispo for breakfast, we took the 101 north to Big Sur Station where the Pine Ridge Trail starts. I packed everything I needed in my Fjallraven Kaiak 58 W backpack and got ready to enter the Ventana Wilderness. First day we hiked about 7 miles to the Barlow Flats campground, miles and miles uphill then down following the gorgeous Big Sur river. Be prepared to suffer, a little, it is not an easy beginner hike when you carry a backpack, I'm pretty glad I survived.
It was perfect to go during this period, especially on a Monday we were pretty much alone on the trail which usually can be very packed. Sykes Hot Springs are about 3 miles away from Barlow Flats which is a fairly easy day hike with a nice reward at the end. Once you arrive down the river note that there is not a clearly defined trail, follow the river on your left side, it is easily navigable except for a few tight spots, the sulfur smell is a good sign you're getting close. Luckily for us, we had the two large pools only for ourselves.
I would recommend to wear light trail shoes for that type of adventure. I chose the Keen Versatrail and my feet didn't hurt at all! A full-length layer of cushioning absorbs shock, and the breathable foam tongue gives it a custom-feeling fit, j'adore.
We spent another night at the Barlow Flats camp before heading back to our car on Wednesday morning. These three days were both a physical and spiritual experience for me, amazing start of a month on the road.
- No advanced permit reservation is required however a back country fire permit is needed if you want to have a camp fire.
- Abundant amount of poison oak on the trail
- Having water shoes is a plus as you will be required to cross the stream several times to get to the hot springs
- You can drink from the springs but a water filter is recommended
So Voila, done!