The following is taken from my blog site here: www.southcoast.media
The car swings like a ship down the steep mountain road, tacking violently from side to side. Music pumps through the speakers and cool air flows from the vents inside. Outside, heat wraps round the car, crushing in from the roasting road below and the setting sun above. As the sky blue PT Cruiser flies towards the bottom of a Mediterranean valley, it slows, the brakes slam on and it crashes onto a dusty track to the left of the road.
After a while, the doors creak open and two travellers stumble out. They've seen it all- the seven-lane freeways of San Francisco; the awe-inspiring vistas of the Big Sur coastline; the smashing, crashing, booming waves of the Pacific, carrying the lithe bodies of sea otters and seals- but here in this valley, they've found something new.
Down by the stream, they paddle through smooth, warm currents, cruising between giant boulders. Lime-green frogs bounce from hot rocks into the algae below. As they walk through the water, slipping and sliding on the weeds, they chatter about the views, the days that have passed and those yet to come. Harsh words occasionally surface, but these pass swiftly, sinking rapidly from memory.
Two miles further along a violently bumpy track, garnished with sharp stones and light brown dust, they find a campsite. Beside it, the warm waters slow and deepen, providing a refuge for shoals of dirty brown fish, each more plump and tasty-looking than the last. Above the tents and vehicles, low scrub and desert-trees stretch up into the sky on either side of the steep valley. Later, these same slopes frame a perfectly black sky, the stars grains of shining sand scattered across the velvet night.
We drift off to sleep, our thoughts disturbed only occasionally by the interesting smells emanating from the composting toilet.