Roughing it in Big Sur:
We roughed it for a night up on the ridge in the Los Padres National Forest.
First off, I’ve been car camping here before, but I’ve gotten lost trying to find it, too. It’s first come, first choice of camp, and we were the only ones there on Thursday night.
It’s not hard to find, but maps and books sometimes show (or don’t show) this campground.
I was going to buy an expensive GPS and load a map to this area, but I looked in the iTunes app store and found this great app called “Commander Compass Light”. What’s nice is you can zoom in on a location (using a google earth-like finder) or plot in longitude-latitude or *azimuth. I didn’t even know that word until I got this app! It’s seriously too smart for me, but the highlight was: I found the location on a standard map, eyeballed it and set the campsite as a “destination”, clicked on the map feature for directions, and used my phone’s GPS to get there. It also gives altitude, so depending on where you want to go, you can cross-reference your altitude on a map.
Old way! 😉
Popular with off-road truck and motorcyclists, hang gliders and apparently people who shoot guns (saw a lot of gun shell casings near the camp site), its rustic, far off the beaten path locale makes for a certain type of camper. One thing to note is there are no toilets, no water, no water source, one or no picnic tables at each site and maybe a fire pit. At this time of year, it is prohibited to start any type of fire. You may use a propane camp stove.
One thing we would’ve liked was to have a wasp-free experience. We got there near sunset, so we didn’t notice them until the next morning. I could barely cook breakfast when they swarmed us and we dove into the truck to eat our meal! We saw the nest high up in the tree and decided we’d find another spot. We left that morning, but check out this view!
Our bikes getting dusty in the back!
There are accessible camp spots for most cars, but the few on the ridge are
over rutted out, dusty roads and if you drive an automatic car, chances are you won’t have traction to get up and over stuff, but worse, you may bottom out or scrape off a muffler.
The entire drive was shrouded in fog, but wow, was it warm at 3100feet!