A common cliche of the modern city dweller is lamenting the fact that there is not enough “fresh air” in the city or discussing with friends the need to get away for a weekend to reconnect with nature. This of course is probably not true for all residents of big cities but the fact that technology detoxes, yoga retreats and general country escapes are as popular as ever means that as citizens of a metropolitan jungle we acknowledge our intrinsic longing to be in nature. Living in London my wife and I are, to a degree, spoilt as the city contains a plethora of green spaces but this does not fully compensate for our primal desire to escape from the prefabricated concrete boxes which we are seeming confined to. Don't get me wrong modern comforts are wonderful but they increase in their value when we, even for an afternoon, reject them to experience life along a hiking path in the country side or out camping in the forrest.
While we were visiting my family in Los Angeles for Christmas my wife and in laws decided to take a side trip to Big Sur California. The drive along the coast from LA alone is spectacular but it is nothing compared to various hiking trails, beaches, waterfalls, and campsite that Big Sur has to offer. As there was a spectrum of age and experience amongst our group we choose a 45 min round trip hike to a hidden water fall off the historic CA HWY 1. As soon as we got out of our car we were engulfed in the crisp air blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Walking up the tail the only direction were to “turn left at the big boulder”. As first timers to the trail there was a palpable sense of concern for missing what seemed to be a vital junction as the term “big” can be subjective. We soon discovered that natures metric for enormity can not be misconstrued as almost out of no where we see a rock unlike any of its predecessors in its vastness standing like a gateway to our final destination. At this point the cool still air echoed with the sound of falling water nearby. The tree canopy’s filtered in specs of sunlight creating an effect that can only be described as afternoon night sky when we looked up. As we approached the fall we found our selves in the presence of a cathedral stone that made our “big boulder” seem more like a doggie door in retrospect. I could see the top of the waterfall in the distance and was determined to get closer. Feeling daring I traversed into, what looked like, a cave only to find a way out on the other side. It lead me straight out to the waterfall and it was glorious. Sun streaking through the water, the coolness of the moisture in the air, I felt at home.
It’s these experiences I long for when I come back to the city. For now, this photo memento will have to do.