Not many people can say they have ran 90 miles through Big Sur in three days. And if you know Big Sur at all, you know Paul’s and my pain. There are endless miles of long hills that prelude fast, twisty slopes. Big Sur has tested our strength and endurance. I say with full confidence that the “Little Engine that Could”, has nothing on us. And if put on the same route, “Wouldn’t”. His gears would cease powering it forward, he would literally run out of steam, and I’m sure everyone aboard would jump off before that “Little Engine” would tumble backward off of Bixby Bridge. But hats off to him, he was a great read.
Big Sur is a town, but also could be thought of a large territory. Gorda, Lucia, and Big Sur are the only towns that lay along this huge stretch of coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. This area is hailed as some of the most beautiful coastline in all of the United States. One moment as you travel with pines on both sides of the road and overhead, you emerge onto the side of a cliff with a view that resembles a painting only Bob Ross could masterfully birth into painting existence. The water everywhere is a colorful mix of teal, dark blue, green, and a hazy yellow in some places. It is astoundingly beautiful. Pods of dolphins play in the water below, seals can be overheard below the cliffs, deer and cattle graze in fields, and colorful finches dart through the sky and tall grasses. Even a little field mouse was found on the road, no bigger than my thumb as I placed it back into the grass. It is truly where the pines meet the ocean.
Last Thursday we left San Simeon and headed into the wild. Before getting to Big Sur however and ascending into the pines, we made a brief visit to some large residents along the coast. I had heard some barking, and waved Paul over to the other side of the road. After ducking through some barbed wire fence, and stepping carefully through fox tail grasses (those suck to get caught in your socks, especially if you are going to be running 20 more miles after that), we discovered some elephant seals. My adventurous nature and animal loving spirit kicked in as I climbed down the bluff onto their beach. And I stress the “their” because they were not too happy we stumbled onto them. It was a relatively private beach and area, owned and operated by the seals you could say. I really wanted to at least touch one, but the name says it all, ELEPHANT seals. They are big, bold, and protective animals. Needless to say I was bitten and I am back in Phoenix at home. Alright, that last part was a lie, not bitten, but the seals graciously let me hang out with them for a bit before I climbed back up the bluff.
There was a 5 mile stretch of that Thursday run where I was blown away with the beauty and wild nature of the coast. A coyote lurked by the road watching us as we passed, deer were spotted grazing not far off further along, we had just seen hundreds of seals, and while crossing a bridge mud swallows swarmed above us in the air singing loudly. It was glorious. I have seen and witnessed things I would never have dreamed I would come across or be able to see from a car.
Our next run day was just as majestic and beautiful. As we continued in Big Sur, we were not fully alone out on the road. We shared this scenery with tourists and a few leather tramps. One specifically, didn’t catch his name, who was going to LA with his drum. That’s a long way! Well, I guess Canada is also. The constant scenery of ocean on our left and forest to our right has allowed a great deal of reflection on creation and how precious of environment is. It is this same environment that God created, which we must preserve and take care of. A lot is going on specifically in California at this time. The government is shutting down some of the states most beloved parks to help the budget deficit, and this saddens me. We must be better hosts to our world and God’s creation. As we take care of our selves and others, is it not our own responsibility to take care of our world? As tourist enjoy the beauty of Big Sur, they drive their Hummers and luxury vehicles through the forest, consuming gas and products that destroy the very wonder and beauty they come to see. No matter how “green” one can go, I think there is something seriously wrong, specifically in our country, with how we live. We all see it, we all want to change it, we all believe it can be changed, but we do not live that change out. There is something wrong with people driving 60 miles to a day spa (Tree Bones in Big Sur comes to mind, no matter how “green” they are) and the homeless man who emerges out of the pines in this area. Both people are there to enjoy God’s creation, no matter what they believe. However, enjoying it in two very different ways.
And as I step down from my soap box, I have felt extremely blessed these past couple days. Because not many people will ever seen such beauty in their lives, or realize that they are able to. Because me and Paul are enjoying this beauty, in our own way.
10 thoughts on “Big Sur, You Are Big.”
Paul and Zac, What a blessing to be “taking ” this adventure with you throught your words. I pray that the Lord continues His blessings on you and keeps you safe. Looking forward to the next post. Blanche
I just love reading your stuff! I can picture so much of your adventure because I grew up camping all over CA. Anyways, I gotta tell you that I hear FAITH bursting forth from you two. It is beautiful to behold. It spurs me on in faith as well. Praise God for every element of Bless the Coast. We are praying for you and for the beloved west coast. May Jesus increase! Robin
Zack….you are a very talented writer, among all your other great qualities :). I feel like I’m right there with you after reading your post..I can almost hear the ocean! You are so right about the our responsibility to care for our planet. Sometimes, I admit, I don’t take that charge as seriously as I should.
Abby and I were just talking this morning of how proud we both feel of you. They put the map up this morning at church to show us how far you have gotten. WOW! Our prayers are with you. May God continue to give you safe, injury free passage and may He continue to reveal to all of us Himself through your journey. We love you.
PS Sammy got kidnapped this morning (freshman initiation). They dressed him up – he looked like the cat in the hat 🙂
Just wanted to say how impressed I am of your vision and follow through with your mission for the Lord. Stay strong, keep looking up, and focus on the finish line. May the Lord continue to bless you .
You remain in my prayers.
Hey Zac & Paul!!!
Just wanting to check in and let you know you are still the talk of the town here in Santa Maria. Daniel’s little sister Querida (QJ) went to a graduation and when Daniel went to pick her up, all of her friends were asking about you guys.
Pastor Rob asked us today where you guys were currently and we honestly had to say we did not know. From your schedule I take that you were in Carmel today. Was it as beautiful and ritzy as I remember?
Thank you again for the opportunity to host you and give you guys the need rest. Enjoy the journey and thanks for letting us be a small part of it, especially Daniel’s opportunity to run with you.
Cool pics with the seals!
Take care!!! Tracy James
Z + P,
Thank you so much for recording the beauty of the California coastline in words. I have been thinking these things for years!
It was a real pleasure to meet you tonight and to share in a time of praise with you both. I am praying with you on your journey, although I won’t need 5 pairs of sneakers to do it in.
Cheers and blessings,
Hey guys, I’ve been checking in on the blog nearly every morning, stuck working the 8-5, and enjoying your updates! Just the idea of doing something like you two are is inspirational. Enjoy the journey!
Looks like the seal is equally amazed at how tan you are.
hey guys, what you are doing sounds so awesome, and I am inspired by your dedication to run like crazy people for 3 months! Keep it up, I’ll be praying for you guys!
oh my gosh what a picture