The Big (Sur) One

May 1, 2019

Yesterday, April 30, 2019, at 10:10 am, a small, magnitude 3.4 earthquake rocked the seafloor 25 kilometers northwest of San Simeon. That’s just offshore from where the Monterey/San Luis Obispo County line meets the coast; between Salmon Creek and Ragged Point. Local media reported it took place on the San Simeon Fault.

In other words, the quake took place immediately adjacent to some of the most unstable and landslide prone slopes in Big Sur. It was fortunate that this quake was so small, because larger – much larger – earthquakes are distinctly possible along the Big Sur coast.

IMG_2665

The epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake was just off this segment of the southern Big Sur coast. The cattle grazing in Kozy Kove Meadow make a peaceful, bucolic scene, but it’s worth remembering that the flat is, in fact, the top of an enormous pile of rubble; the remnants of a massive landslide that very recently (in geologic time) slid into the ocean in this location. Read the rest of this entry »


Big Sur Highway Management Plan Identifies Congestion Relief Projects

April 1, 2019

DSC06841

Bixby Bridge

The California Highway Department has finally released its long-awaited management plan for Highway One in Big Sur.

Key issues identified by state planners include increasing levels of traffic brought on by relentless promotion of the area as a vacation destination and the social media-induced tendency of visitors to gather in large numbers at a few highly congested and overused attractions.
Read the rest of this entry »


Much Needed Rain

January 18, 2019

img_1930

On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, wind gusting to over 50 mph brought down trees and knocked out power – especially on the Monterey Peninsula’s south-facing slopes.
Read the rest of this entry »


Fourth of July in the Hills

June 30, 2017

IMG_3210

What harm could there be in having a little campfire?

Those who live in, or near, California’s fire-prone wildlands tend to get pretty jumpy around the Fourth of July. Many refuse to travel to town for parades and parties; preferring instead to stay at home re-checking water systems and sharpening chain saw blades. Their eyes crawl up to scan the sky for smoke so frequently it becomes a nervous tic. They sniff the air so often that they appear to be suffering from nasal congestion. They fly into a rage at the sight of anyone building campfires or using fireworks.
Read the rest of this entry »


Mud Creek Now Mud Point

May 23, 2017

image0021

Punta Barro: Big Sur’s newest geographical feature (photo credit: Rock Knocker)

The Santa Lucia Mountains are very young. At just 5 million years old, they are still in the process of being born – punching upward out of the Pacific faster than the forces of wind, waves, rain, and gravity can wear them down. Their steep, unstable seaward wall, rising to over 5,000 feet at Cone Peak, is constantly eroding, sliding and collapsing into the sea.
Read the rest of this entry »


April Wildflowers

April 19, 2017

All that rain has really gotten the wildflowers going this month. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

IMG_5841

California goldfields (Lasthinia californica) and Gray’s clover (Trifolium grayi), share a meadow at The Indians in the upper Arroyo Seco watershed.
Read the rest of this entry »


Flashback! Julia Pfeiffer Burns in the 1960s

July 19, 2016

Just a few shots from the days before traffic jams and crowds…

Scan

At the Waterfall House with my mother and sister in 1966. Notice how the waterfall drops directly into the ocean. The beach formed after a 1983 landslide put a huge amount of material into the ocean just to the north.

JG 1

Mom and Sis on the terrace.

Brown House

Leading Mom around the house (I think this photo is from 1963). To get there, we rode down from the Highway on the funicular car.