I had heard of this beach from a man living in Santa Monica. “Don’t miss it!” he said. “But it’s impossible to find. The locals want to keep it a secret. It’s gorgeous and unlike any other.” I had seen it on the maps of the California coast when I was downloading topography maps into my GPS. (I wanted to be sure to stay on the coastal area itself, mostly Highway 1.) So I told the unit to guide me to this beach, not really knowing what to expect. Interestingly, the GPS unit that came with the rental car did not have Pfeiffer Beach listed in Points of Interest!
The large, rather fancy stone sign for the beach is on the unassuming ancillary road to the beach itself–a full half mile away from the main road, completely impossible to see from the main road. You would never accidentally stumble upon this place even if you were looking for it. The road to the beach itself is long and just appears to be connecting private driveways to houses nestled in the canyon.
The day after visiting Pfeiffer Beach I learned from a lady, a native of the area who was breathing in the explosive costal energy of Point Lobos, that I was at Pfeiffer Beach on one of the two times per year that the sun actually peeks through the hole (which you cannot see in the pano below but can in the picture above) in the enormous craggy rock on the north beach. This magic hour appearance only happens at sunset and casts long fiery light in the ocean-soaked sands as the waves retreat during low tide. Every year photographers flock to this mecca as if participating in a holy observance, a spiritual awakening to be glimpsed only for a short time–long enough to last one all year.
I saw a giant picture (probably 6 feet by 4 feet) of this phenomenon in the hotel in which I stayed at Carmel. Astounding! If I had only stayed 2.5 hours longer, I wouldn’t have missed it! But no worries, I’ve marked the calendar for next year’s pilgrimage.
This place, the Pacific coast from Big Sur to Point Lobos, feeds my soul, or, as my guide the day before put it, “This is my happy place.” But for me it’s much more significant than just “happy.” It’s peace, equilibrium, Bach–a deep nurturing energy of soul.
The wind chill was all but unbearable. The extremely heavy tripod I use blew over! At times pictures of the sandy beach looked out of focus because the sand was being blown in high speed currents. This place is amazing!
Click on the picture above to see the panorama.