Big Sur Information

•October 1, 2016 • 72 Comments

Header photo by Michael Hardy, I think. It is from several years ago.

One last thing on Soberanes which will be critical this winter:

WERT Report (Watershed Emergency Response Team)

This Big Sur blog has been around since 2008. Its focus is to cover events effecting Big Sur including fires, road conditions, weather, and local non-profit events. I also have a soft spot for dogs, so I cover lost and found dogs. Send your news and photos, and we will do our best to post them. send to:

You may notice that I have started a new page to keep the conversation going on the future of Big Sur – Big Sur Forward: Data, Research and Solutions. I hope all will participate and donate ideas, thoughts, and research. See Pages in the sidebar to the right – Big Sur Forward (thanks, Kathleen Lee)

I have also created a page for photographs of problem areas taken by myself and others. You can find that on my “pages” in the sidebar or by clicking on this link: Loving Big Sur to Death – photos

(Size for any header photos you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)

Cal Trans Update, 1/17/17/

•January 17, 2017 • 2 Comments

January 17
2:30 PM

Good afternoon,
This is an aerial of Mud Creek (PM 8.8), our active slide with a full closure in effect . Our local Geotech is meeting with Geotech from San Francisco today to find the best fix for Mud Creek (PM 8.8) It may be a longer than desired process, but we’re looking for the best and safest solution.


This is just the very bottom portion of the slide area. For those interested, I have a google earth screen shot, but for most of us, it is difficult to realize what one is looking at. I will see if I can learn to annotate it with what Rock Knocker has to say – will be in steep learning curve for me, so don’t look for it tonight, and maybe not even tomorrow.

FROM BIGSURKATE AND ROCK KNOCKER – NOT OFFICIAL CAL TRANS INFO –  What a lot of people don’t realize when they see that slide on the mountain or on the highway, is that this is not the true problem. There is movement pushing from way up above that can be seen on google earth or a very long climb or by helicopter. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


State Route 1 continues to be closed from Ragged Point (SLO PM 72.87) to Lucia (MON PM 23.00) due to rock/mudslides in multiple locations.

Motorists may travel south on Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Lucia or travel north from Cambria to Ragged Point.

In addition there is a full closure on Hwy. 1 at Mud Creek (MON PM 8.88) due to a mud/rock slides within the existing boundary of this closure.

For the time being, Hwy 1 is open to LOCAL RESIDENTS traveling south from Monterey who can safely get around through the an open lane at Paul’s slide (MON PM 21.6) down to Gorda (PM 10) until 4 pm this and each afternoon.

There are no crews currently escorting at Paul’s Slide as all crews are working down at Mud Creek. Another update will be provided tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday, Jan. 18.

We will continue to work with you in maintaining the roadway safely open as much as possible. The forecast says Big Sur is expecting rain beginning tomorrow Wednesday, Jan. 18 through next Tuesday, Jan. 24, so no telling how Hwy. 1 will fare. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding.

Susana Z. Cruz
Caltrans District 5
Public Information Officer/

Interactive Map, South Coast Slides and Mile Markers

•January 17, 2017 • 15 Comments

A friend spent a lot of hours creating this map for my readers. What I will do is post the jpeg version first, so you can visualize, and then the link to the interactive pdf version below it. Eventually, there will be three maps – South, Central, and North. These will also be included in the History of Highway One at the top of the page so they are easy to find. You could also print out a version to keep near your internet device.


This is very, very cool. My friend won’t let me give him credit, but what he did is dynamite! When you open up the pdf link below, you get a new tab in your browser that has the interactive map. When you click on one of the white boxes for the slide name, you will get the choice of a split screen showing the full map on one side, and the photos of that particular slide on the other screen. It is a great tool we will use often in the years ahead. Thank you, my friend. And Rock Knocker says: “Outstanding.”


No update today, 1/16/17

•January 16, 2017 • 5 Comments

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Cal-Trans is taking the day off. They deserve it, and more. I am also taking the day off in honor of MLK, but also to honor John Lewis who has been speaking truth to power and seeking justice and civil rights for all people of color for over 50 years. He is a modern hero who hasn’t had to be assassinated in order to attain that status.

In 1967, I, a young white, California girl, found myself in Alabama. My eyes were opened to the blatant discrimination that I had never seen – “Whites Only” and “Coloreds Only” signs everywhere. Lines, separate sections, seats, and all that you may have read about. I came to understand the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s on a visceral level rather than just an intellectual one. It is an experience I carry to this day. Today, I take the day off. Honor those who speak truth to power today … and tomorrow … and next year. It is important and necessary.

Map of South Coast Slides and Names

•January 15, 2017 • 12 Comments

A number of people have requested a small map of the slides and their names. I posted in 2014, and will post again here. This is the map that Don Harlan created by hand in January of 1971. I have a old xerox copy of that map which I scanned. The ori9ginal is no better than you see here, and I can’t improve on it. I warn again, no one could read Don’s handwriting, which is why he typed when he could. This is no exception. As far as I know, this is the only map in existenance of the slide namesake locations. If you find a different one that is more legible, please let me know.


Cal Trans Update, 1/15/17

•January 15, 2017 • 1 Comment

Caltrans Highway 1 Update
Sunday, January 15
11:00 AM

State Route 1 continues to be closed from Ragged Point (SLO PM 72.87) to Lucia (MON PM 23.00) due to rock/mudslides and trees down in multiple locations.

Motorists may travel south on Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Lucia or travel north from Cambria to Ragged Point.

In addition there a full closure on Hwy. 1 at Mud Creek (MON PM 8.88) due to a mud/rock slides within the existing boundary of this closure.

Hwy 1 is open to local residents traveling south from Monterey who will be escorted through Paul’s slide (MON PM 21.6) to Gorda (PM 10) until 3 pm this afternoon, Sunday, Jan. 15. However, no escorts will take place on Monday, Jan. 16 due to the State Holiday, hence the road will just remain closed from Ragged Point to Lucia.

An update will be provided on Tuesday morning, Jan. 17.

How Paul’s Slide got its name …

•January 15, 2017 • 13 Comments

I received this from a local (South Coast) businessman:

“Sorry kate..i don’t follow the ‘local vernacular names of slides..’ not sure where ‘Paul’s Slide’ is.” Hmmm… You don’t follow?? What does that mean? You think these are just the names we locals made up for each other? Paul’s Slide is north of the Rock Shed, and south of the Hermitage. It is listed on Cal Trans  – and many other Mile Markers guides. As I was answering him/her, I realized that many of you are relatively new to my blog or the South Coast and may not know the history of the names of our most re-occurring slides.

Paul’s slide was named after Paul Collins who worked with Rock Knocker in the 80’s and 90’s at Willow Springs. Some of these names have persisted for over 60 years. Long before many of us were even here. Paul’s Slide, as a name, has only been around a bit over 30 years. I have been sworn to secrecy as to WHY Don Harlan named this one Paul’s Slide.

Here is what I responded to the South Coast business man.

“XXXX, these aren’t “local vernacular names of slides.” Don Harlan named them. And all Cal Trans and the locals follow the tradition Don started.

Don Harlan was born and raised here. His family dates back to the 1800’s. [He watched the North and South sections of Highway One get connected in the 30’s.] They had equipment on the ranch which he learned to run as a child, and when Cal Trans needed an equipment operator, they hired him. He was sent up to Livermore, where he was a lead worker, and then he was returned to the South Coast as Supervisor at Willow Springs in the 50’s until he retired in the 80s. He taught Rock Knocker every thing he knows. He came to Rock Knocker’s and my wedding (in 1993) wearing his hard hat when he was in his 80’s. He was never without it.

Don Harlan typed up the names of all the slides in an 11 page document, how the names came to be, and a hand drawn map of the area indicating where they were. I scanned and posted all of this in a continuing story on my blog a few years ago. Don Harlan was an Original Road Warrior, and there was no one like him then, and none now. Cal Trans has a copy of this historic document, as do I. I scanned it.

If you are interested in the area in which you live, look it up on my blog. Then read it….”

Here is my introductory piece to get you started. Now it is up to you to learn the rest. (Enter Don Harlan or Personality One in the search box for more.)

How Elephant Trunk Got its Name

Also, one might be interested in reading the geological history and definition of terms about rock falls, rock slides, debris flows etc. with maps etc. which can be found in the pages links to the right on the History of Highway One.

This is an absolutely fascinating study on the history of mud and rock slides along Highwsay One in Big Suri from the opening of the hiway until 2000. MUST read for all of us interested in this,

History of Closures of Highway One in Big Suro (Thanks Jeff Mallory for finding this and sharing it.)

Mud Creek Photos – Now and then

•January 14, 2017 • 1 Comment

These are by Cal Trans from yesterday:



What these photos do not show, thus the dangerousness, is the view up top. There is a whole hillside breaking loose.

Rock Knocker has been taking photos of this area since 1980. He has claimed the entire slide are. I’ve posted photos of this last year, 2011, and 2010. You can find a few at these links:




And there was one last year, too. Just use the search engine on the right, and type in Mud Creek, and you get ALL sorts of information!!

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