Photo Sunday, 1/31/21 — Things that brought me joy

This week, the thing that brought me the most joy was community. The South Coast, the Wild Coast, has a community unlike any other I’ve ever known. We were hit the hardest down here in the Santa Lucia Mountains, hidden away in the back country, where neighbors live miles apart. Chalk Peak, the primary way off the mountain for many of us was hit with well over 10” in a 24-hour period and at least 15” over 48 hours. Winds howled. Trees fell. Rocks and mudslides covered roads. We don’t have a road crew available. Los Burros, Plaskett, Nacimiento, and South Coast Ridge Road were trashed. We didn’t call anyone, because there is no one to call and no one would or could respond. (County might, eventually) We got to work clearing roads, cutting downed trees, and checking on neighbors.

Two neighbors, Tom Collins and Colleen Wilson are a team that just got busy and got to work Friday, clearing South Coast Ridge Road, What normally takes 1/2 hour or so to drive, took seven hours to get from Alm’s Ridge to Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. This is their story.

Hi All –
Sorry for the tardy reply but we just arrived home after leaving about 10 am. It took us about 7 hrs to reach NF Rd from Alm’s.

  • We cut 10 – 12 trees
  • Removed rock at Chalk Peak – enough to get by. We took my Outlander but Tom’s 350 would not get thru. Lots of rock slides. Maybe getting some people together we could clear in a few hours. Very icy on the asphalt. Be careful thru this area – there’s about 6-8 ft where the asphalt fell away & the side is very soft. We put a orange cone to mark that area.
  • Alm’s & Prewitt are pretty good, road wise.
  • Lots of debris, mud & dirt across much of the road north of the asphalt all the way to NF. Some places have deep sludge & ruts but I got thru without a problem. Very rough in some places – Tom calls this Alluvium. We sure could use the Fort to clear for us! Tom is guessing the Fort could clean up everything in a day between NF & Prewitt.

Once we arrived at South Coast & NF Rd – we saw 3 BIG trees across the road leading towards the Naci Station so going to Paso is out unless the county shows up soon. We did not turn west towards Hwy 1.

Bottom line – you can get in the entire way from NF Rd. [to Alm’s Ridge]. There’s still logs that need to be moved but you can get thru.

Cheers –
Colleen & Tom

Chalk Peak — Tom doing some shovel work on the rock slides
Chalk Peak

Tom and Colleen, you are some badass South Coasters. Aren’t you glad you stayed for the winter instead of going sailing in the South Pacific like you often do every winter?

Today, Sunday, a crew of local guys were going to be trying to make their way up Nacimiento to South Coast Ridge Road, cutting downed trees, clearing slides and cleaning drains. However, after Katee’s photos of Naci, that may be abandoned.

After I posted these last two to FB and twitter and my blog, it was suggested I contact Katie Moon, so I sent them to her and she called me. I was able to provide information on where and what so she can share with her boss. I was also able to get ahold of the FHL road crew boss who gave me his cell years ago. He tried to come up today, but was blocked at the FHL/LPNF boundary, but will be trying again on Monday in a different, more versatile vehicle. County will be assessing then, too. Both are part of my community. Thank you both. Today, Mary Adams and Jimmy Panetta are meeting regarding federal assistance. Two more members of my tribe.

Friday, Billy and Ellen were able to cut through downed trees on Los Burros so that at least vehicles could get through, but it still needs a lot of clean-up. Brendon did the same on Plaskett, so he can get in and out, but it isn’t pretty.

This is my community of which I am so proud. I am so honored that they accepted me into it 31 years ago. A reporter asked me on Friday why I lived here with all the fires, slides, road closures and everything. I told him because of community. There isn’t a better one anywhere else. What I didn’t tell him was that I lived here because this is where the Goddess lives and she whispers to me and blesses me every day.

10 thoughts on “Photo Sunday, 1/31/21 — Things that brought me joy

  1. I don’t think it’s that others accept you down here. I think it’s uniting with and respecting the embrace, the weather, the wildness of the South Coast that makes you part of it.

    These photos bring back memories of road clean up in my younger days. I know the smell, the dampness, the joy, the work of this. Did you see?…road guy Kevin Drabinski described you all as “a very hearty independent group of locals” in the New York Times. If they only knew. Much love from Santa Duck of the Edge of the Wild.

  2. All of you are the family of Nature and creatures of the Earth. God Bless you and the help you give him with his creation!

  3. Thank you for this! A great example of what a small/large (spread out) community can do by pulling together. You all are a very hardy bunch with a lot of special people. Not saying others aren’t, but it reminds me what all our small communities that make up Big Sur do when disaster hits. Though you may do it more often than others as you be getting hammered/tested more than usual this year, but still you all are pulling and working together gracefully. Stay safe!

  4. I think we all will need to learn compassionate, efficient community-building like S. Coast for the coming (already here) times when we love and struggle together or all “slip-out” like NF. Governmental structures can help when they can help, of course, but change, I think, will have to be bottom up as is born of necessity in South Coast and other wild places. It might sound cliche by now (I even have to stifle my own yawn), but I do suspect top-down, so-called patriarchal, models of order are not holding at the center. Kind of a bad news-good news hypothesis some of us have been opining for many, many years.

  5. The last paragraph made me cry! Community…we should all be so fortunate. Thank you Kate and to ALL in your community!

  6. Gratitude and joy in your Big Sur community. Your vibe is your tribe🙏

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