Ventana Backpacking = Coastal Fun
The Women’s Beginning Backpacking trip got off to an early start with all participants arriving at precisely 7am. We were able to quickly dole out group gear and load up the van for our big adventure in the Big Sur/ Ventana Wilderness area. We got on the road and managed to miss all of the infamous Bay Area traffic, thus giving us time for a pit stop in Monterey. We explored Fisherman’s Wharf looking for the best clam chowder and other coastal seafood specialties. After we had all gotten our fill (and we had thoroughly enjoyed the barking sea lions) we were on the road again. We arrived at the Big Sur ranger station around 1:30pm and were hiking by 2pm. The weather was lovely and we could have hiked in shorts and t-shirts but the encroaching poison oak made it kind of a gamble. The first part of the trail gained elevation quickly and made us all wonder if maybe we should have left that extra shirt or pair of socks at home. We passed many hikers and after a few miles of hiking, we were told we had finished the hardest part and the trail only got easier. We initially missed the trail down to our camp thinking there was no way we had already hiked 4 miles but were able to backtrack easily after speaking with some other hikers. We camped at the Ventana camp which was 1000 feet down from the trail but put us next to the river and enjoying the sound of water all night. We woke on Sunday to a lovely fire built by Betty and after some hot chocolate and quick breakfasts we were back on the trail. We made it out of the canyon quickly, crushing the 1000 feet of elevation in under an hour. Once out of the trees we had beautiful views of the surrounding mountains as well as the Pacific Ocean. We were all glad to see the car but sad to be leaving the wildflowers and picturesque rolling hills.