Reflections on a Trip up the Coast

My family back in Venezuela has this tradition of traveling to at least one place we don’t know every winter for a vacation. Many times we return to places that we know and like, but we always reach a new destination. With me studying in the U.S., this year was the first time we wouldn’t spend Christmas and New Years together.

So I decided to embark on a trip and continue this tradition. What I found in Big Sur — about eight hours north of San Diego — was much more than what I was looking for.

Pfeiffer Falls, the most iconic place in the Big Sur State Park.
Trees, the true nature warriors.
Point Lobos: I heard an old local lady describing the color of the water as “Emerald.”
The old lady was right. The most accurate description.
I went down just to make sure what she was saying was true and see the “Emerald” by myself.
View from the deck, the highest point in Big Sur. There’s a little nice restaurant with seats facing this view; I bet their food gets cold fast.
Rocky Creek Bridge, one of the most fascinating structures ever made by man in my opinion.
A closer look at a tourist on the bridge, capturing the moment.
This place reminds me of Alcatraz, not even a soul in sight.
Garrapata State Beach. One of my favorite places in the world – total isolation would be a good description.
On the road, the peace of the immense green fields make you feel the calm after the storm.
I’ve seen sunsets in many places, but nothing compares to the Pacific Ocean’s.
One of the most beautiful coastline scenarios you could ever contemplate. Original architecture.
Stop, take a break. Appreciate a good sunset.
Lucia Mountains in the background, covered by some mist. This is the furthest point reachable due to some slides that closed Highway 1.
On the way back, another perspective of the Rocky Creek Bridge. Majestic.
The van and the mist. One of my favorite pictures of the trip, tells a story by itself!

After being surrounded by all this nature, I felt an emptiness watching news about how California was being ravaged by wildfires, drought and even floods and mudslides at the same time. Mother nature is telling us something more with this.

As a foreigner, I was shocked by the diversity of nature and its beauty, from beautiful coastline beaches to even huge mountains full of snow. Something Californians might take for granted is this beauty, and don’t realize how it’s deteriorating in front of their eyes. Ultimately, I invite readers to reflect and internalize about this deep issue that affects us all — let’s preserve and collaborate with our Mother Nature.


Mario Salge Mata is an economics junior at San Diego State. He is an international student from Venezuela.

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