Saturday, November 28, 2020

Carmen's Trail

 Waxing Gibbous Moon

Carmen's Trail at Fremont Peak State Park, eleven miles up San Juan Canyon from my camp, is named after former Ranger Rick Morales's daughter. It starts at the upper parking lot near the trail to the peak and winds down through grass and ferns and oak trees past the Observatory, hooking up with Tony's Trail (after Rick's son) which takes you to the park entrance. 

From there, you can walk the road back up to the parking lot. Or, if you want to stay on dirt (the more funner option), you can take the Cold Springs Trail through oaks and madrones and pines to the Valley View Trail (with views of the valley, duh) circling back around the campgrounds to complete a long, rolling, hilly loop hike back to your vehicle. 

If you are feeling frisky, then you can hike up the Fremont Peak Trail to get the whole 360 degree pano shot of the Salinas Valley, Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Juan Bautista, the San Juan Valley, Hollister, the Diablo Range, the Hollister Hills, and the Gabilan Range. That loop-o'-the-park is a pretty sweet hike that hardly anybody ever takes on (or knows about?), probably because the park is understaffed and they can't patrol it. This is the perfect time of year to do the whole thing, though, because it's cool and because the poison oak has been tromped on enough to be almost inconsequential to all but the most urushiol-sensitive. You are welcome, by the way.

The highlight of my walk yesterday was a brief but fun exchange of stares on Carmen's Trail with a small group of mule deer. They were sort of trapped between me and the road so there was only one safe way to avoid trouble. After freezing in place for a minute or so, they boing-boing-boinged lickety-split past me to safety. 

I spoke to them in reassuring terms but I have no idea if my words had their intended effect. I looked at it as a win-win. I got to see them for a minute and they got to haul booty outta there without getting murdered or maimed. From a deer's point of view, that's basically what parks are for, methinks.

There were lots of cars in the lot, but the campgrounds were not full and I didn't see a soul on the trails (except for the deer souls) until I got around to the Fremont Peak Trail. That was sort of too crowded for me, so I went back to Spugly and crept back down the winding road to home. 

Another "Black Friday" successfully avoided! Yay!

Peace, Love, and Opt Out of All That Mess,

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