September 09, 2013
"test of time" 9 of 30 - finding the real Big Sur, 1966
photo by Donald Kinney
It happened frequently--I would be at Big Sur and someone would ask me "where Big Sur was". Directions to the center of it all, I guess.
A valid question, I suppose, but it is too bad that most coast-cruisers never see much of Big Sur's fern-studded and creek-filled canyons.
Palo Colorado Canyon, north of Bixby Canyon Bridge, was for me, beyond bliss. Full of lush compositions and exquisite nature. Redwoods and Horsetails with Ferns and Clover. An outdoor photo studio complete with waterfall and stream. I visited often.
The beauty hides way back in the hills; in the deep and steep canyons. At Bixby Bridge a tiny road heads southeast. This is the harrowing "Old Coast Route", which cuts through the El Sur Ranch and across the shoulders of the mountain made of marble; Pico Blanco. This dirt washboard was the main road to Big Sur until the paved Coast Route (Highway-1) was completed past Hurricane Point in 1932.
"In my day" Big Sur was less of a tourist destination and/or yuppie hangout than it is today. Until the 1970's Big Sur was still isolated and unique enough for Beatniks and Hippies to live cheaply. Kerouac and Miller had set the scene.
CLICK for 40 photos on what I call my "big site"; photoarrow.com.
CLICK for "Photographing Marin County"; my Marin County exhibit.