We drove 9 hours up the coast on Valentine's day to Big Sur, where we set up a tent in the dark and camped under the redwoods. Being in the outdoors surrounded by fresh air and a sense of adventure was exactly what we needed. We've wanted to take this trip for over a year, but coordinating work and class schedules never aligned in our favor. After Dave lost his job, we said, "Welp, now we have a chance to go camping!" and spontaneously headed up the 101 without knowing exactly where we'd go.
The next morning, we cooked bacon in the crisp coastal air and headed out to explore the forest, gathering tiny pinecones and awing at the immense size of the trees. We packed up our tent and head back down the coastal highway, stopping at the turnouts to marvel at the natural wonders of our incredible state. We ran through fields on the side of the road, investigated an old cabin in the distance, hung out with elephant seals piled on the beach, watched the fog consume the cliffside, and saw a herd of zebras graze in the valley of Hearst Castle.