Last Friday, I visited Big Sur. It was a weekday, but my daughter didn't have a class that day so that we could enjoy the less crowded beach. It is my pleasure to have one of California's most beautiful coastlines within a 2-hour driving distance.
We left home at 7 am and headed to Pfeiffer Beach. Reaching Pfeiffer Beach is a little tricky. It needs a 'sharp' right turn from Highway 1. The narrow road to the beach could be hard to find while you're on Highway 1. The parking fee is $12 (credit cards are available), but it usually gets full quickly. That is why we left early in the morning. However, on an ordinary winter weekday, there were only three other cars (at 9:20 am) in the parking lot. My last visit was May 2021 - Memorial Day - and the beach was crowded with many people. Moreover, it was warmer than the last time: mainly because it was less windy. We could enjoy the beautiful beach and 'tranquility,' which I had never had before.
McWay Fall is another iconic place in Big Sur. I had never parked in the McWay Falls parking lot because it was always full. But this time, the space was plentiful. Moreover, there was no one at the gate. I had to self-register my car, chipping in $10 cash in an envelope and cutting and placing a tag on the dashboard. With the mercy of winter rain, the water stream was more substantial than before. And it was another quiet and priceless time.
On our way back, we dropped by the 17-Mile drive. We've been there many times before, but it was the best weather and the least crowded. It was also our first time to enter from the Highway One gate, and we could visit Ghost Trees for the first time - we always bypass it when we run around the counter-clock-wise way. Spanish Bay would be the most bustling place in the 17-Mile drive. But that day, only a few dozens were there. Tranquility was the last word for the place before - another precious moment.
But at the last moment, the precious tranquility turned into sadness. Scales was one of our favorite restaurants in Monterey, but we found that it was gone. The empty Monterey Old Fisherman's Wharf was strange scenery. While the tranquility of a desolate beach gave me happiness, an empty street without human warmth was a sadness. I hope this is the last stage of this pandemic: precious normalcy.