Into the Big Surreal: 36 Hours in California’s Isolated, Lonely Island https://t.co/Kggyi9xAQL— KQED (@KQED) June 5, 2017
California Report reporter John Sepulvado, along with a friend, decided to spend his Memorial Day weekend checking out the weird quietude of Big Sur as it exists in the spring/summer of 2017. Hiking in on a trail that's supposed to be just for locals, traversing Pfeiffer Canyon where Caltrans hopes to build a new bridge by late September, he tells the tale of walking and hitchhiking the entire, secluded 36-mile stretch of Highway 1 that's currently all but cut off from civilization save for helicopter travelers and a single, twisting, over-mountain road that the brave can take to and from Highway 101 in Salinas.
Locals are still hanging out in the only pub that's open, Big Sur Taphouse and one Catholic missionary who's been living in the area tells Sepulvado that there's an empty sheriff's squad car parked along Highway 1 just as a deterrent from drunk driving.
Residents are also telling stories of "mountain lions walking in the middle of empty roads, and longtime recluses sunbathing naked on the highway." And Sepulvado and his companion get a close-up look at Paul's Slide, the other section of unstable earth that was dropping pebbles and rocks onto the roadway even as they passed. Also he reports that there were 30 families who braved the treacherous Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to camp in Limekiln State Park over the holiday weekend. And while the area is mostly empty of cars, he observed the "occasional Audi and BMW, having made it over the mountains, [speeding] past with an abandon usually reserved for splashy car commercials."
Separately, KQED reports on the plight of residents and school kids who are having to commute sometimes significant distances on foot with the kids, who now are about to be on summer break, catching their bus just on the other side of Pfeiffer Canyon.
But check out the video below, shot by Sepulvado, as he tries to depict the scale and sheer enormity of the Mud Creek slide, standing at the spot where Highway 1 emerges from underneath it on the north side.