Tuesday, January 25, 2011

making an adventure

california road trip 2010


yesterday was one of those effortless days. even with the onset of grad school, it was a day where the sunrise, high noon, sunset and nightfall just sort of happen. in a smooth, flowing sequence. without any major events, emotions or commotions. i love days like that. days that don't require any heavy thinking, decision making or choices. i rode yesterday like a wave and when i finally crashed in bed, it felt natural and organic. simple as it should be.


but days like yesterday, anchored in routine, make me long for another day that was anything but ordinary. as i stirred the mashed potatoes in the stove top, i let my mind drift. to coasts decorated with boulders. late-night mexican food in a little town that shut down around five. cerulean blue skies and redwoods. california.


for all my meticulous, months-long planning, i messed up. we drove through big sur, with all its acclaimed beauty and ruggedness, at night. we saw nothing of the mountains and jagged coastline i had read tomes about. i was disappointed. then i saw a sign.


for julia pfeiffer burns state park. my former co-worker had listed it, and its glorious waterfall, as a top must-see in big sur. but we were too late. the sun was down, the chill was setting in, and storefronts, restaurants, and offices were slowly, one by one, shutting down. 


but the park entrance was still open. i begged robert to turn in, much to his chagrin. "courtney, this is crazy," he argued. "we won't even be able to see the waterfall-it's almost dark outside." but we pulled in anyway. i hurriedly changed from flats to tennis shoes, grabbed robert's oversized wind breaker, and we set off on the trail.


it should be noted that i am not, by any means, a risk taker or one who seizes opportunities like this. but there was something about california that changed me, if only for that week.


but my adventurous spirit was brought down to size when we came upon a covered walkway, decorated with bats, their wings thudding against the walls. there was no other way on the trail besides straight through their little makeshift den. and i couldn't do it. we turned around in defeat. just when we reached the top of the parking lot, close enough to our car that robert had already unlocked it from a few yards away, we came upon another couple, just setting out. i felt the need to warn them. "it's not worth it," i spoke into the darkness, "there's bats down there."


i heard the girl shudder and the boy drew a deep breath, but they set out anyway. we got back to our car and i turned to robert. "let's go back. if they can do it, we can do it." there was obviously no arguing with me, robert could sense it. 


we ran down the dirt path. the wind was ripping at my jeans and my hair was a mess. i was so, so many miles from home and comfort. we reached the couple just as they were approaching the bats.


after quick introductions and a little conversation, we decided to go in together. i slipped my hands around the girl's tiny fingers. robert pulled out a flashlight with one hand and shielded by head with the other. and we ran. with strangers. in the dark. with bats flying mere inches above our heads.


it was exhilarating. scary. a bit dangerous. 


and there, right outside the cave, was the waterfall. illuminated by the stars and ever so gorgeous. a precious reward for trusting. in human decency and goodness. in thrills and california. in facing fears together.


but mainly, most of all, in seeking adventure, even in the most unlikely of places.

24 comments:

Jenni Austria Germany said...

cerulean blue - good description! :)

Seams Inspired said...

beautiful :o)

Ana* said...

Little adventures like this one make vacations beyond exciting

nadiine said...

this sounds so exciting :) xx

becca said...

love how you create images with your words

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I could read your words all day, they flow like a gentle stream across the page.

Amanda Moury said...

I'm super jealous, me and the husband want to take a California road trip THIS summer! I hope I hope I hope! :)

ruthy ann said...

when the hubs and I drove through california we had adventure...but no bats. You're brave!

godessunseen101 said...

Found your blog and died, love it. Honest and truthful and I love the title picture (:

Im a new follower, want to check out my blog ?

vintagepoppa.blogspot.com

alice h
xoxo

Thisisme. said...

What a good job you went back! I'm so pleased you saw the waterfall after all.

Shalyn said...

I love that you said you are not one for risk taking but California changed you- that is so beautiful! And YOU WENT BACK...AMAZING! I don't know that I would have. Its moments like this that seem so little that we remember forever, though and I loved reading about yours!

Blondie's Journal said...

I give you so much credit for going back...I think you were as determined to face those bats as much as wanting to see the waterfall. That is VERY adventurous!

XO,
Jane

Jessica said...

Glad you decided to go back! I've been itching for a trip. Anywhere!

Ashley said...

You paint the prettiest pictures with your words.

Amy said...

What a beautifully written story. It sounds so exciting. Taking risks usually turn out the best sometimes. I bet that waterfall was gorgeous. And I bet those bats were quite a sight!
Xoxo

KY said...

I LOVE your blog! I am all over the simplistic layouts as of late and yours totally hits the nail on the head! Wonderful post and wonderful blog, keep up the fabulous writings :)

www.travel-babbles.com

Kristin - Mrs. Glasses said...

taking risks in life can lead to beautiful things <3

Amber Blue Bird said...

my husband and I took a road trip out to Oregon a few years ago and it was the biggest adventure both of us had ever taken. I think about it all the time with the fondest of memories

Diana Smith said...

Love days like that!! Cute picture of you two

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

I love adventures

mskanorado said...

I love adventures! Oh and just so you know, I have a new button that should be glitch free - haha.

Melissa: Write it in Lipstick said...

this is a beautiful post you write so lovely. sounds dreamy


writeitinlipstick.blogspot.com

Farmchick said...

This sounds so lovely....

Lynn said...

i really think you should be a published writer! my gosh, every story has such a flow and carry with them visuals i can almost touch. awesome tale and so happy for you that you found the brave torch and held it high!!! proud day, i bet roberts eyes were as illuminated as those stars. xo ♥

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