Big Sur Mishap – Hiking Partington Cove
Okay kids, there will be no complaining about this hike! It is easy, there is a cool tunnel, a cove where pirate ships used to port, and John Partington smuggled booze here during the prohibition days. Sounds simple, right? No, we are the Boyd family and my kids (including my husband) always want a better view, need to climb to the highest peaks, and want to jump off the cliff into the Pacific Ocean cove we just hiked to. I am the voice of the reason, or as they like to call me the “safety monitor” of the group. As they were climbing up the small cliff for the “better view,” I pointed out that someone built a lovely bench to sit on at the point of interest for a reason, but I was clearly talking into the wind.
Before we left on the hike we were told a native american story or legend about the seals in the area. We always enjoy getting some background or hearing stories from locals, it adds a little flavor to the day. As legend has it, “seals go to the other side of the rocks passed the cliff (my kids and husband decided to climb) and will pass on to the other side while other seals traveling by will often stop by to mourn their lost friends and family.”
Not long after we got to the point we hear a seal barking. Of course, we run to the edge looking for him, except for one child still climbing down the cliff. My husband saw the seal and they shared a moment staring into each other’s eyes as I fumbled for the camera to capture it on film. He said it felt like he was looking into the seal’s soul and it was surreal. I was bummed we did not capture this beautiful moment that my husband and the seal had just shared when we heard a piercing scream. We turn around and and see our daughter tumbling and rolling down the cliff with her head inches from slamming against giant rocks and neither one of us could get to her in time before she tumbled to the bottom.
I cannot even describe the fear I felt as I rushed to her side. Luckily she did not hit her head or break any bones. She did get scraped up and was bleeding. Where is the first aid kit? In the car of course! My husband took off his shirt, wrapped up her leg and carried her to the top of the hill to get her bandaged up. I am glad he did it because I do not look as good as he does with my shirt off. I can joke about it because everything was okay, but it definitely made us realize a few things we need to improve on when hiking with our kids.
Now is a magical time to experience the Big Sur coast. Why? Currently, just south of the town of Big Sur, there is a 40 mile stretch of Highway 1 that is isolated due to a landslide on one end and a bridge outage on the other. So, you can either lace up your hiking boots and hike in from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or drive and experience some serious motion sickness as you head down the long, windy, narrow Nacimiento-Ferguson Road. If you take either route, you will be glad you did because Big Sur is an adventure you do not want to miss.
We got very lucky with our little mishap and want to remind people to be very safe when out enjoying nature. What seems like fun can turn into a big problem in a split second, and when you are miles/hours away from medical help things can get serious quickly. Go out and enjoy your next adventure, SAFELY!!