Big Sur backpacking trip to Pico Blanco…

So this last weekend I had the opportunity to go on an amazing 2 day backpacking trip in Big Sur with some people from the Henry Coe hike. Ksenya got us plugged in with the Stanford Outing group and I’m totally hooked now. =)

Ksenya helped me get a backpack, headlamp and sleeping bag two weeks ago and now it was time to figure out what food to pack and how to get everything to fit nicely into my bag.

Plenty of food for trip

Well I got it to fit into my bag but I must admit, it was a tad heavy. No worries, I’d have plenty of food to share and would get a great workout in the process of packing it in to our campsite. =)

The hike started at Botcher’s Gap parking lot where we met Silviu (crazy fast hiker and “official” trip photographer) and Jim, Jimmy and Greg (three guys from Cal State Monterey Bay). One of the guys brought a frisbee so we played catch in the parking lot till the crew from the Stanford area showed up. I was happy to see that Yun Jin, who we met at the last hike, would be joining us. She’s really cool and has been on a bunch of hikes although this was only her second backpacking trip.

The 4 mile hike down

We hiked downhill for 4 miles (mind you that means we had to hike back up those 4 miles on the way back) and then reached the Little Sur River which was flowing over the road. There was a bridge across but it had been barricaded for repair so we got to go sloshing through the water (too cool). =)

Jen water crossing

The next 4 miles were more challenging…. a LOT more challenging. It was all good though. We arrived at our campsite, setup our tents and then headed down to a beautiful (and super cold) waterfall/swimming hole. After testing the water, Ksenya pushed off into the water.

Ksenya testing the water

I wasn’t sure if I could manage the cold (I got a brain freeze just walking barefoot in the surf several years ago at Limekiln State Park) but decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I\'m swimming!

Woohoo! Totally worth it. =) Next up a group of 5 of us decided to hike nearly two miles up limestone covered Pico Blanco to catch the sunset from the summit. The hike was so cool. We basically scaled the side of this mountain carving our own trail over limestone deposits, minty brushes and stabby yucca plants.

Rock climbing

The last challenge was a rather narrow ridge of limestone that we had to climb. I love this picture as it shows how steep and narrow this part actually was.


When we reached the summit I felt this overwhelming sense of wellbeing wash over me. The hike up had been challenging but the reward was well worth it. The view at the summit was incredible.


We all took turns signing the logbook and then Silviu was nice enough to take a group picture of us with my camera. From left to right it is: me, Jim, Sandy, “V”, and Robert.

Pico Blanco crew

We waited until the sun started to go down and the wind picked up to begin our trip back down. You’d think that would go faster but because it was getting dark and the path down was pretty steep, it took about the same amount of time. Plus we stopped to appreciate the only flowering yucca plant on the entire hike.

Standing next to a yucca flower

My new headlamp worked out really well and pretty soon we were back at camp. Ksenya and the crew had dug out the fire pit and gathered wood for a fire while we were gone so we returned to a nice campfire. I took a moment to relax and reflect on the events of the day.


The next morning “V” and I headed down to the river to pump some fresh water for drinking and then we enjoyed another campfire (George and “V” helped me to setup and start the fire which was cool) before packing up to head back.

All in all it was an amazing trip. Thanks to Ksenya for helping me get into this and being my hiking/backpacking buddy. I can’t wait for the next trip. =)

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2 Responses to Big Sur backpacking trip to Pico Blanco…

  1. jojourneys says:

    Sounds like a great trip, I have hiked the Big Sur area before, and the memories are among my favorites. Great images to go along with the story. If you liked this, check out information on the Lost Coast Trail. This is farther north on the California Coast. You can do the trip in as little as 3 days, but I always took five. This is a challenging trip, and you have to time your passage with the tides you weave along the cosatl pockets and through the redwoods. The trail is in the Eureka area. A nice weeklong trip to build up to.

  2. mfujinaka says:

    I did this trail a couple of years ago and want to do it again but forget the exact route. could you give me details on the route? thanks!

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