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February 03, 2013


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Rachel Maizes

Lovely appreciation of a barren season. Thanks.


Lovely! You write of an area that will always be home to me---it is very possible to get away from all people/noise in the Santa Cruz area--I did frequently in my 24 years there. Also while it looks like a fairy tale and is so beautiful--there are also bitterly cold winter rains, earthquakes, mudslides and more--there is a downside to every area. I love your photos, I love your writing---and I love the California Coast but am thrilled to live in the beauty of Colorado.


I find many uncrowded places also. I have not been to Monterey or Big Sur in many years but I do know where to get peace as I do not go to the popular places for the tourists. There are lots of off the beaten place to get away. You do know them in your area and know which ones are going to be overrun. That's the beauty of knowing an area well. But so glad to hear you escaped and had fun!


I totally understand what you mean here. This happened to me in New Zealand two years ago. It was exquisitely beautiful but surprisingly crowded and did not feel wild at all. It irked me no end that we always met people on the trails and the coastal areas were overrun. Then, I read in my guidebook about a corner of the country least visited by tourists. We asked around and no one had ever been there or thought it was worth visiting, so we headed straight to it and spent most of our remaining weeks hiking in the amazing mountain parks there and DID go days without seeing another soul . . . but as soon as we descended from the mountains we were in the thick of it again.

In New Zealand and England (where I lived for a few years) I missed the wide open landscapes and the vast scale that I have always known at home, both in Alberta where I grew up, and in BC where I've lived most of my life since then. I missed being able to disappear into the wilderness and re-emerge days later feeling I'd visited another world. I think, to be fully human, we need that option to available to us at all times.

Sometimes I think it's WAY too busy here and threaten to move to the Yukon to be left alone and get some privacy. The population density in BC is one of the lowest on earth at 4.8 people per square km (especially when a full half of those people cram themselves into Vancouver - far, far away from me) but the Yukon's 0.1 people per square km is the most enticing statistic I've ever laid eyes on. (To get a sense of these numbers, compare them to 93.3 per sq km in California and 19 in Colorado.)


Oh, and I suppose one's idea of "crowded" is relative to what one is accustomed to. Having a few people milling around is crowded in my books and more human contact than I encounter on a day to day basis at home, but others might consider this quiet and peaceful compared to what their used to. To me solitude and wildness are inseparable - can't really have one without the other.

Julene Bair

What a beautiful picture of Big Sur, probably one of the wildest places you'll see along the California coastline all the way from SF to San Diego, but I know what you mean. Sometimes I think that growing up in this bio-region caused me to think of "green" as "tame." The only places that green in western Kansas were fields of wheat in the spring, while the pastures where the native grasses still grew were a much milder green.

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