August 24, Bright and Sun-shiny Day

Part II

Valley View Trail

Looking out at the redwoods

Me on Valley View trail. This was a photo trade with a couple hiking on the trail.

I'm back down at the trailhead. I got an asian couple to take this pic, then I took a pic for them.

Here's the campfire center where the previous night's concert was. It's bigger in person.

The crystal clear Big Sur River with children swimming in it. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Me and the largest redwood in the park-- the Colonial Tree. The woman that took my picture told me I should hug the tree, that it was tradition. lol.

We decided to take a pic from this angle too.

Looking up the Colonial Tree

I thought this was a squirrel with an extra long tail, but now I'm not sure. That tail is ringed and extra fluffy. It was burying acorns in the dirt path.

I had walked up this park road (to get to the Colonial tree) and then went on one of the bigger trails. This is the Gorge trail that leads to a split to either Oak Grove Trail (where I went) or Mount Manual trail (a 4 mile trail into the back country to the peak of Mount Manuel). On the Gorge trail, there is a preserved Homestead Cabin. This trail was deserted, so luckily I was able to use the fence post to place my camera for a picture using the timer.

There I am on the steps of Homestead Cabin

My new house. lol.

I hiked farther down the trail and rested for a bit on a big log. Then I went just a little farther and I came to where the trail splits to Oak Grove Trail, or Mount Manual Trail. I heard something big moving through the brush. I froze and looked about. Deer! Two of them.

I zoomed in for this first shot

Deer starting to run away.

One last look before he goes.

As I watched the deer, I heard someone coming down the Mount Manual Trail, talking loudly. I waited till I saw someone, then I put my finger to my lips and said "shh, deer!" The guy whispered, "ok, I'll shut up." and he sat down on the trail to watch the deer.

After the deer went on, I turned back to the guy, and noticed that he still sat alone. I asked him then who he was talking to, and he says "oh, I guess that would have to be myself." I talked to him a little more and came to find out that his name was Don, and he lives in the Ventana wilderness-- a Mountain Man. He said that he really didn't like to get any closer than Big Sur to civilization, because it was too noisy and smelly. He did say that on occasion, he'll go down to a campground for a shower, water, or something. Don said that he had various things of his hidden in various parts of the wilderness, and that he knew these back trails very well. I asked him if there were any fresh springs nearby that one could drink from. He said not in this park, but he told me where this dirt road off the Pacific Coast Highway is, that I can go down 4 miles, park at a gate, walk through the gate, walk about 4 miles, then I'll come to a campground. Then if I look down to the grove of redwoods by the campground, there will be a trail there. Follow that trail down to a big pool of water surrounded by redwoods, and there's a spring in the rock there that has good drinking water. I marveled at the idea of such a place. I told him: "that sounds like heaven!" He jumps up and says "that's what we call it!" I asked him who "we" was. He said he was referring to the other men that lived in the Ventana wilderness. I laughed, and he sat back down on the trail. He had some sort of leg coverings tied to his legs/shoes. His shirt was filthy, and his hair pulled back in rubber bands. I told him about the cat tracks I saw on the trail the day before. He said that was neat, and it's too bad I didn't actually get to see the cat. Don said that he had let go of fear a long time ago, among other things, to get closer to nature. He ate from the land, and had a buddy that ordered organic food pouches from the internet for him. He has a camp stove in his back pack. We talked of the stuffed animals in the Nature Center (he's been there a couple times), and I told him about the white barn owl down there, and my experience with it flying in my face 3 times. He leapt to his feet again, very excited (this man is beyond eccentric), and told me that the owl was trying to speak to me, to give me a message. He was so impressed that this owl had done this to me. He told me that there is a book called "Animal Speak" that explains what different animals say. He said that he couldn't remember exactly what this owl was saying, but he thought it might be that there was to be a large, positive change in my life. I laughed and said that there definitely was a large, positive change in my life, within a few weeks after the episode (I found out I was moving to Monterey County, and moved). Then he offered for me to join him for a cocktail, as a buddy of his had left him a bottle of whiskey in a bush. I declined and told him that I had to get moving on my trail. I went on to the Oak Grove trail, and he went to the Gorge Trail. Before we parted ways, I asked him if I could take a picture of him for my trip pictures, and he agreed to it.

Don, the mountain man.

I went on along my trail, never saw anyone else. I came out where my car was parked (I planned that). It was getting late, the sun was low, I headed out. Beautiful drive up the coast. I even saw the dirt road Don told me about...I smell an adventure in the future...